Parents and educators as allies for inclusion in kindergarten and beyond

Transition to kindergarten forms critical bridges to inclusive education for children with extensive support needs, a population facing high rates of segregation across the country. We will present findings from interviews and surveys of parents and educators regarding this transition and inclusion in kindergarten. We will discuss NWDSA’s model that prepared parents as advocates and efforts to prepare educators as allies in this transition.

After this session, participants will be able to:

1. Describe the challenges that parents and educators encountered during and following transition to inclusion in kindergarten for children with extensive support needs and compare these to findings from other current research.

2. Describe parents’ and educators’ perceptions of what worked to address the challenges.

3. Describe parents’ and educators’ perceptions of the benefits to children from inclusion in kindergarten and beyond.

4. Discuss preparation needed for parents and educators to form alliances to support all children in inclusive schools.

5. Describe the components and strengths of the Kindergarten Inclusion Cohort, a program to prepare parents to advocate for their child’s transition to inclusion in kindergarten and beyond.

Ruth Falco, Abigail Braithwaite, Angela Jarvis-Holland