An inclusive environment benefits all children
Our society is made up of people of different race, gender, talents and interests. Yet, our classrooms and learning centres often do not reflect such diversity. In recent years, more schools are looking to build an inclusive environment to meet the learning needs of children with varying abilities. In such a setting, everyone is included and children are not segregated by any pre-set criteria.
An inclusive environment provides a platform where children are encouraged to participate regardless of their abilities. It helps children maximise their potential based on individual capabilities and promotes social acceptance. Here, teachers design their lessons and teach in ways that allow every child to be involved.
Better student outcomes
Research over three decades shows that an inclusive environment benefits both children with and without special needs.
- An inclusive classroom provides children with a safe environment where they learn to recognise and accept the strengths and abilities of their peers. The interaction between these children helps them build soft skills such as patience, empathy and ability to show care and concern to others who may be different from them. Such an environment fosters a culture of respect and helps children become more sensitive to the needs of others.
- Through the friendships developed in an inclusive environment, children with and without special needs see each other as role models to learn from. This leads them to accept their own abilities and develop a positive self-image as well as learn how to cope with challenges and find alternative pathways to success.
- Children who learn in an inclusive environment also have stronger social and communication skills which helps them fit into a diverse population with a positive attitude, develop a stronger sense of belonging and be better prepared for community life in the years ahead.
Choosing the right environment for your child
In most classrooms, there will be children with special needs who learn differently from their peers and require special attention. There are some pressing questions that need to be addressed: Are teachers adequately trained to handle such dynamics and challenges? Do they have the right programmes and resources to engage children of different abilities?
When choosing a school, parents should consider how an inclusive classroom environment can positively impact their children’s growth and development.