Including All Children
Children with diverse needs are in every program, school, and classroom in the United States. As an early childhood professional, you will teach students who have a variety of special needs. These students may come from low-income families or different racial and ethnic groups; they may have exceptional abilities or disabilities. Students with special needs are often discriminated against because of their disability, socioeconomic background, language, culture, or gender.
You and your colleagues will be challenged to provide for all students an education that is appropriate to their individual needs in order to help them achieve their best. Your challenge includes learning as much as you can about the diverse needs of children and collaborating with other professionals to identify and develop teaching strategies, programs, and curricula for them. Most of all, you need to be a strong advocate for meeting all children’s individual needs.
Program and Student Learning Objectives
Including All Children
PLO 3 Candidates use their knowledge of students, learning, curriculum, environment, diversity, communication, and community to plan and implement collaborative engaging, thought provoking, inquiry-based instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
• SLO 3.3 Candidates will compare diverse learner needs including but not limited to special education, gifted and talented, low socio-economics and English Learners and analyze strategies for working with young children.
Including All Children
• Children with diverse needs are in every program, school, and classroom in the United States. As an early childhood professional, you will teach students who have a variety of special needs. These students may come from low-income families or different racial and ethnic groups. They may have exceptional abilities or disabilities. Students with special needs are often discriminated against because of their disability, socioeconomic background, language, cultures, or gender. You and your peers will be challenged to provide for all students an education that is appropriate to their individual needs in order to help them achieve their best. Your challenge includes learning as much as you can about the diverse needs of children and collaborating with other professionals to identify and develop teaching strategies, programs, and curricula for them. Most of all, you need to be a strong advocate for meeting all children’s individual needs.
Including All Children
Attitudes toward providing for all children with disabilities have changed and are continuing to change. Today there is recognition that as a society and as an early childhood professional we have to ensure that all the needs of all children are met to the best of our abilities. As the profession has and continues to meet the challenge of providing for all children, a number of significant trends have developed which are and will continue to influence how professionals and programs deliver services. One of these trends is a family-centered approach. Although children come to centers and other programs, they come from homes and families. So, working with parents and other family members is seen as a way of truly meeting children’s needs. At the same time, you and other professionals can meet family members’ needs as well.
A second trend is work with and through community-based programs to provide appropriate services. A community-based approach is based on the ideas that in numbers there is strength and that it is more cost-effective to use existing services to provide for children rather than duplicate them in early childhood program. When no community-based services are available, then the program has to provide them. When they exist, programs should use them. Part of your role is to identify existing community services.
The community-based approach results in a third trend, the interdisciplinary collaboration between and among professionals. No longer do we view the field of early childhood as sufficient to meet the needs of all children. Rather, it takes the combined efforts of disciplines- child development, psychology, nutrition, social work and others- working together for the good of all children and families. A purpose of such interdisciplinary collaboration is the providing of coordinated and comprehensive services. As an early childhood professional, you will be involved in all of these trends and more.
IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)established the following six principles for professionals to follow as they provide educational and other sources to children with special needs.
• Zero Reject – A rule against excluding any student
• Nondiscriminatory Evaluation – Requiring schools to evaluate students fairly to determine if they have a disability and, if so, what kid and how extensive a disability they have.
• Appropriate education – Requiring schools to provide individually tailored education for each student based on the evaluation and augmented by related or supplementary services.
• Least Restrictive Environment. – Requiring schools to educate students with disabilities with non disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate for the students with disabilities.
• Procedural Due Process – Providing safeguards for students against schools’ actions, including a right to sue in court.
• Parental and student Participation – Requiring schools to collaborate with parents and adolescent students in designing and carrying out special education programs.
IDEA mandates a free and appropriate education (FAPE) for all persons between the ages of three and twenty-one. This mandate takes care of special education cases but it also guarantees a free education to second language learners. The United States experienced phenomenal growth in the number of English-language learners over the first decade of the 21st century, expanding the need in many public schools to provide special language instruction.
From the 1997-98 school year to the 2008-09 school year, the number of English-language learners enrolled in public schools increased from 3.5 million to 5.3 million or by 51 percent (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2011). During the same period, the general population of students grew by 7.2 percent, to 49.5 million. These burgeoning numbers of English-language learners pose unique challenges for educators striving to ensure that such students get access to the core curriculum in schools and acquire academic knowledge, as well as English-language skills.
Achievement data suggest that English-language learners lag far behind their peers. Some advocates for English-language learners consider the implementation of the common-core academic standards, adopted by almost every state, as promising for raising achievement for English-language learners. But experts in the field and advocates of ELLs also have expressed concerns that not enough attention has been paid to including ELLs appropriately in implementation of the standards.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded $330 million to two consortia of states to create reading and math assessments for the common-core standards and pledged that, from the start, those assessments would be designed to include ELLs and ensure they were appropriately assessed. With a nod to English-language learners, the department awarded an additional grant of $9.95 million to one consortium to translate its common standards math test into Spanish and three other languages, along with American Sign Language. Groups of states led by California and Wisconsin also sought 7 million to create English-language-proficiency tests for the common standards that would measure ELLs’ annual progress in reading, writing, and speaking.
States also have to comply with provisions for English-language learners in the No Child Left Behind Education Act, the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is the federal government’s flagship legislation for K-12 education. With enactment of that law, for the first time, school districts were required to break out and report the standardized-test scores of ELLs, as well as other specified subgroups of students. School districts are required by the law to meet targets set by their states for “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, for English-language learners or face sanctions.
For measuring accountability, the law requires states to develop English-language-proficiency standards and implement English-language-proficiency tests. The English-proficiency standards had to be linked to state academic standards. Regulations for the law stipulate that ELLs must be tested in math beginning with the first round of state exams after the students enter a U.S. school, and in reading after they have been in a U.S. school for at least one year.
English immersion: Instruction is entirely in English. Teachers strive to deliver lessons in simplified English so that students learn English and academic subjects.
English as a second language: May be the same as immersion but also may include some support to individuals in their native tongue. Typically, classes are comprised of students who speak many different languages but are not fluent in English. They may attend classes for only a period a day, to work strictly on English skills, or attend for a full day and focus both on academics and English.
Transitional bilingual education: Instruction for some subjects is in the students’ native language but a certain amount of each day is spent on developing English skills. Classes are made up of students who share the same native language.
Two-way bilingual or dual-language education: Instruction is given in two languages to students, usually in the same classroom, who may be dominant in one language or the other, with the goal of the students’ becoming proficient in both languages. Teachers usually team teach, with each one responsible to teach in only one of the languages. This approach is also sometimes called dual-immersion or dual-language.
But many educators and researchers have contended that state content assessments have not been valid and reliable for English-language learners. As it has turned out, not many states have met the law’s AYP goals for ELLs. During the 2007-08 school year, only 11 states met their accountability goals for ELLs, according to an analysis of federal data by the Washington-based American Institutes for Research (Zehr, May 12, 2010). Researchers point out that, because states set their own goals for ELL achievement and have their own definitions for ELLs, it’s not possible to compare ELL performance among states.
An issue that continues to surface in discussions about how to improve achievement for ELLs is which education approach serves them best—bilingual education or English-only instruction. From 1998 to 2002, voters in three states—Arizona, California, and Massachusetts—approved ballot measures to curtail bilingual education in those states.
Assignment instructions below:
Curriculum and diverse learners can encompass a large variety of connotations. You will find three different lessons for a four year old classroom on the next page in this content section. Your task is to identify modifications and/or accommodations that can be made for a specific diverse group. In the chapter several specific groups of children are identified. Pick one group addressed in your textbook, look at the lessons and modify the plans to meet the needs of the student population you choose. As a reminder here are the definitions of modifications and accommodations.
• An accommodation is generally thought of as a change in the course, standard, test preparation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student response and/or other attribute which provides access for a student with a disability to participate in a course, standard or test, it does not fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the course/test. (it is important to note that we do not currently have national agreement on the terms used to refer to accommodations, it differs from state to state. Accommodations are basically physical or environmental changes, generally referred to as good teaching strategies and include:
• Extended time, frequent breaks, varying of activities
• Change in classroom, preferential seating, physical arrangement of the room, reducing/minimizing distractions, cooling off period, sign language interpreter
• Emphasizing teaching approach (visual, auditory, multi-sensory), individual/small group, taping, demonstrating/modeling, visual cues, manipulatives, pre-teaching, organizers
• Taping texts, highlighting material, note taking assistance, notes provided by teacher , calculator, computer, word processor, Braille, large print
• Directions given in small, sequential steps, copying from book/ paper, length of assignment shortened, format of assignment
• Positive reinforcement, concrete reinforcement, checking for understanding, study guides, before/after school tutoring
• Reading test verbatim, shortening length of test, test format changed (multiple choice vs. fill in the blank)
A modification is a change in the course, standard, test preparation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student response and/or other attribute which provide access for a student with a disability to participate in a course, standard or test, which does fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the course, standard or test. Modifications involve deliberate intellectual lowering in the level of materials presented. ⇒
• Presentation of curriculum is modified using a specialized curriculum which is written at a lower level of understanding.
• Materials are adapted, texts are simplified by modifying the content areas—simplifying vocabulary, concepts and principals.
• Grading is subject to different standards than general education, such as basing on IEP goals.
• Assignments are changed using lower level reading levels, worksheets and simplified vocabulary.
• Testing Adaptations are used, such as lowering the reading level of the test.
Accommodations level the playing field while – Modifications change the field your playing on.
On the following page you will see the three lessons you will need to modify. (I have attached them separate in the additional materials)
Including All Children