How to Support children With Special Educational Needs in Nurseries?
Every child is unique and has their own way of learning. When it comes to educating gifted and talented children, creating an inclusive environment is paramount. This blog post will explore effective strategies and best practices in supporting children with special educational needs in nurseries.
Understanding Inclusion in Education
Inclusion in education signifies an approach that values diversity and equal opportunity for every student. It fosters a welcoming learning environment, ensuring that each child is fully involved in all aspects of schooling regardless of their abilities or needs. Notably, inclusion encompasses two distinct categories: Special Educational Needs and gifted and talented children. Both these categories call for different teaching strategies and support systems, yet they share the common goal of ensuring a child’s personal and academic development.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Special Educational Needs typically refer to children who require additional support. Examples of special educational needs include challenges with reading and writing, non-verbal communication challenges, and emotional and behavioural difficulties. SEN inclusion support aims to create an accommodating and supportive learning environment that helps these children overcome their difficulties and reach their full potential.
Gifted and Talented Children
Parallelly, gifted and talented children demonstrate outstanding abilities in one or more areas, such as academics, creativity, leadership, or specific subjects. While these children may excel in their areas of talent, they may also face unique challenges, such as social isolation, under-stimulation, or heightened sensitivities. As such, their educational needs also require special consideration.
Inclusion support for these gifted and talented children aims to provide an enriching learning environment that challenges them intellectually, nurtures their talents, and supports their overall development.
Inclusion Code of Conduct
The inclusion code of conduct is a comprehensive framework that outlines strategies and guidelines to ensure every child receives the necessary support and accommodations to thrive in an inclusive learning environment. It promotes an environment where students with special educational needs and gifted and talented students feel valued, accepted, and respected. This code of practice encourages collaboration and cooperation among educators, parents, and support staff to develop individualised education plans that cater to the specific needs of each student.
Inclusion and Learning Assessment
Assessment is a crucial component of education that helps gauge students’ progress, identify areas of strength and weakness, and inform instructional strategies. In an inclusive learning environment, assessment plays a vital role in supporting the diverse needs of all students.
When it comes to inclusive assessment practices, it is essential to adopt a holistic approach that considers the individual abilities, learning styles, and diverse needs of all students, including students with inclusion support needs. It also enables teachers to tailor instruction and support strategies that meet the child’s needs.
Strategies to Ensure Effective Inclusion Support
Adapting the Curriculum
The curriculum should be adapted for children with inclusion support needs to meet their specific requirements. This may include modifying the content, teaching strategies, and resources to make them more accessible and engaging for the child.
Employing Qualified Staff
Hiring trained and experienced staff to meet a child’s needs is critical. They should have the knowledge and education to understand and support the varied needs of children with inclusion support needs.
Collaboration between parents, educators, and other professionals is vital in supporting these children. Parents should be actively involved in their child’s education, and communication between all parties should be open and regular.
Building Social Skills
Encouraging these children to interact with their peers is paramount. Social interactions are not just about friendships; they are a vital aspect of learning. Children can develop empathy, learn problem-solving skills, and understand social norms through play and conversation.
For any child, developing independence is an important life skill. For children with inclusion support needs, this can be even more essential. Nurseries can help by creating opportunities for children to practise self-help skills such as dressing, feeding, and personal hygiene. This cultivation of independence helps in building the child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Utilising Music, Drama, and Art Therapy
Creative arts can be an immensely beneficial tool to support these children. Through music, drama, and art, they can express themselves in impossible ways through words alone. Nurseries can incorporate creative arts therapy into their curriculum to facilitate emotional, cognitive, and social development.
Engaging in Sensory and Interactive Play
Children learn significantly through play, especially those who are gifted and talented. Engaging in sensory and interactive play helps them to develop their senses and motor skills. Nurseries can have designated areas with sensory toys and materials like sand, water, and different fabrics, which are fun and provide an excellent medium for learning and development.
Tailoring Communication Methods
Effective communication is critical when supporting children with inclusion support needs. Nurseries should use communication methods adapted to suit each child’s needs. For example, some children might benefit from visual aids, while others might respond better to verbal instructions.
Encouraging Physical Activity
Physical activity is not just beneficial for physical development, but it’s also crucial for cognitive and emotional development. Nurseries can incorporate physical education programmes tailored to these children, focusing on developing coordination and balance and building confidence through physical achievements.
Emotional Support and Mental Health
Emotional well-being is foundational for a child’s ability to learn and develop. For children, navigating emotions can be especially challenging. Nurseries can support mental health by creating a supportive environment where they feel safe expressing their feelings and teaching them strategies for managing emotions.
Nurseries need to keep comprehensive records of each child’s progress. Regularly monitoring development helps adjust the support strategies as needed and ensures that the child’s learning and development are on track.
Cultivating Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is an essential life skill. Nurseries can significantly cultivate critical thinkers by encouraging children to question, analyse, and reflect. This can be achieved through problem-solving activities, discussions, and encouraging children to express their thoughts and opinions.
Tappy Toes Nursery: Championing Inclusive Education
Choosing a nursery that caters to the needs of your child is paramount. At Tappy Toes Nursery, we embody the ethos of inclusion support. Our special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and inclusion head manage the diverse needs of both SEN and gifted and talented children. Our approach to inclusive education is not merely theoretical; it’s a living, breathing practice integrated into our daily school life. From crafting individualised educational plans to facilitating teacher training, our SENCO ensures that our teachers are fully equipped to support our diverse learners. Meanwhile, the inclusion head oversees the coordination of services for children with inclusion support needs, fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance and ensuring that every child feels valued, heard, and included.
Supporting children with inclusion support in a nursery is not a destination but a continuous journey of understanding, growth, and commitment. By implementing a nurturing environment enriched with the right tools, skilled staff, and an inclusive approach, we can ensure that these young learners are given the sturdy foundation they need to thrive in their educational journeys. At Tappy Toes Nursery, every child matters, and every child is allowed to grow, learn, and blossom at their own pace. After all, inclusion is not just about providing support; it’s about celebrating diversity and nurturing the limitless potential within every child.