1) Review: Introduction, Description, Objectives, and Key Concepts of lesson
2) Complete: Activity 1: Policies and Practices to Support Early Intervention
3) Read: Material in Your Essential Library
5) Complete: Activity 2: Identifying Differentiated Instruction
This lesson complements lessons 3.1 and 3.2 int his strand by helping participants understand the philosophy of inclusion and how strategies, such as differentiated instruction can help ALL students throughout the continuum. It draws upon the earlier tenets of developmental knowledge in the domains and DAP to meet the needs of diverse PreK-12th grade learners. Much like the theoretical and practical contributions from the early childhood field, inclusion practices, like Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)/ Response to Intervention (RtI) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) emphasize supportive environments, flexible, individualized instructional practices, and continuous monitoring for progress. This lesson will provide participants in-depth knowledge of inclusion approaches that span the learning continuum.
After completing this lesson, participants should be able to:
We can reduce the achievement gap
Because in the United States children’s learning opportunities often differ sharply with family income and education, ethnicity, and language background, sizable achievement gaps exist between demographic groups. Emerging early in life and persisting throughout the school years, these disparities have serious consequences for children and for society as a whole. Narrowing the gaps must be a priority for early childhood educators as well as policy makers. When young children have not had the learning opportunities they require in order to succeed in school, early childhood programs need to provide even more extended, enriched, and intensive learning experiences than they do for children who have had a wealth of such experiences outside of the program or school. The earlier in life those experiences are provided, the better the results for children. Parent engagement strategies, health services, and mental health supports are also critical. (Adapted from the NAEYC website section on the Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Key Messages of the Position Statement.)
The concept of inclusion can be used to improve early childhood services for all children
Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential. The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports.
Differentiation improves achievement when done well
Differentiation, also known as personalized instruction, means using a variety of instructional strategies to engage and teach children where they are.Whether the differentiation is based on English ability, developmental level, current skill level, interests, or other factors, effective instruction is tailored to individual needs while at the same time, having high expectations and clear goals for all students. Excellence and equity are two hallmarks of high-quality differentiated instruction.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to effective differentiation
UDL is a theoretical framework to guide the development of curricula and instruction that is flexible and meets the needs of all students. The approach advocated by UDL results in instruction that not only works for students with special needs, but also for all other students, to whom the same basic principles of effective instruction apply.
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)/Response to Intervention (RtI) is an approach for redesigning and establishing teaching and learning environments that are effective, efficient, relevant and durable for all students, families and educators
Key characteristics of MTSS include high quality environments and research-based intervention provided for all students; multi-tiers of instruction that provide additional instruction, services, and supports to meet the needs of students at each tier, frequent use of data to determine learning rate and student performance level; and educational decisions based upon problem solving related to a student or group of students response to instruction/intervention.
LINC has identified the following resources as the most essential current resources to help inform you on this topic. You should peruse each of these resources prior to teaching this lesson. If you would like to complete additional research in this topic, there are optional resources in the Additional Resources for Further Study section.
The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is one of seventeen divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. DEC is especially for individuals who work with or on behalf of children with special needs, birth through age eight, and their families. DEC promotes policies and advances evidence-based practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. For general information, see the DEC website.
Dixon, F. A., Yssel, N., McConnell, J. M., & Hardin, T. (2014). Differentiated instruction, professional development, and teacher efficacy. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 0162353214529042.
Multi-Response to Intervention/(RtI) in Illinois. The Illinois MTSS/RtI website, provides a wealth of well-organized information and resources on MTSS the transition from RtI.
To synthesize the material completed thus far in this lesson, consider the following through either small group discussion or individual writing response:
The pre-lesson activity should be completed prior to reading the material in Your Essential Library or participating in the discussion/writing response. The referenced checklist within the activity is available above.
Activity 2: Identifying Differentiated Instruction
The post-lesson activity is designed to help students apply their knowledge of inclusion and identify differentiated instruction. Use the article above for the teaching scenarios referenced in Activity 2