Social Skill: INCLUSION

What does it mean to be inclusive ?

Carla Amaro-Jimenez listed five practices for those wishing to be inclusive of "cultural and linguistic" diversity in her 2008 article in the Spotlight on Young Children series for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

  1. Give children time to think and reflect in their own way.
  2. Encourage students to share what they know.
  3. Help students to incorporate their peers' experience into their own knowledge.
  4. Take the time to listen and do so carefully.
  5. Help children incorporate new and existing information to understand new knowledge.

This list addresses all kinds of diversity and inclusiveness.  My granddaughter was lying in rapture on a blanket in the sun.  Her little brother played wildly in the sandbox.  She suddenly got up and ran to him, tugging on his arm, "Come lie with me on the blanket! It feels so good in the sun!."  She was very disappointed when he ignored her and she came to me.

I explained, "Everyone's body is different.  Your body is telling you right now that lying in the sun feels wonderful.  Grayson's body is telling him right now that holding the sand feels wonderful.  Everyone's body is different."

Everyone's everything is different!  Language, thinking, culture, family, likes, dislikes...even though we are the same in important ways.  The whole enchilada about inclusiveness is to  remember how our bond with others as human beings comes in a package that is unique. The more we hold the ability to see people as both the same and different from us, greeting differences with curiosity and not impatience or fear,  the more we build a world we want to live in.

Kids' Own Wisdom® peer group discussion circles help adults become the kind of listeners and facilitators that honor the lives of each and every child in their care and create  environments in which children feel respected and important... as Mr. Rogers always said,  "Just the way you are."  As we build our own skill sets we better serve children's growing knowledge about themselves and others.

~ Wendy Zacuto, M.A., Educational Consultant

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