Inclusion Policy Statement
The U.S. Departments of Education (USDOE) and Health and Human Services (USHHS) released a policy statement highlighting the importance of making sure that all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs in September 2015.
The policy statement sets a vision for States, local educational agencies, schools, and public and private early childhood programs to strengthen and increase the number of inclusive high-quality early childhood programs nationwide. As the country continues to move forward on the critical task of expanding access to high-quality early childhood programs for all young children, meaningful inclusive opportunities for young children with disabilities is central to these efforts.
You can read the policy statement and related information at Early Learning: Inclusion and the press release.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) in the Commonwealth has set forth the following vision for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE):
...is to ensure that children with disabilities and their families receive individualized services and resources, so that all children enter the K-12 system with the competencies and supports they need to access and participate in the general curriculum and in all aspects of the school.
This vision is supported by and aligns with the above referenced joint statement of USDOE and USHHS. The Special Education Planning and Policy (SEPP) web pages, and the ECSE web pages, provide a host of information and resources that support inclusive practices for young children with disabilities. Specifically, the ECSE Strategic Plan, and the technical assistance available for:
Positive Behavior Supports in Preschool (PBS/PreK);
Early Literacy for young children with disabilities; and
Family engagement activities
These resources and professional development opportunities support districts and teachers to build inclusive schools. Additionally, the initiatives are designed in collaboration with our partners in the Departments of Early Education and Care and Public Health to build community-wide inclusive practices.