The concept of inclusion is complex and messy and although many definitions abound it has never been fully clarified in legislation and guidance.
The purpose of this book is to consider how professionals working with young children and their families can better understand the concept of inclusion and successfully establish, examine and evaluate the building blocks and framework that should underpin inclusive practice.
This book represents a genuine attempt to identify the challenges and barriers to inclusion for all children; to understand them and in some measure, to suggest how they might be overcome.This book is particularly important because:It is based on a broad understanding of inclusion that embraces all forms of difference including race, gender, ability and classIt draws on good practice developed over the years and describes challenges for the futureIt takes into account contemporary issues such as austerity measures, cuts to public services and a changing political landscapeIt brings the reader up to date with current theory, analysis, controversies and debatesThis book is essential reading for early years professionals and students who wish to increase their knowledge and understanding of these issues which can divide society; especially in terms of the impact on young children and their families. "Mary Dickins has given us a book which is a beautifully written guide to the principles and practice of inclusion in young children's care and education.
For some this will be an introduction to, for others a reminder of, knowledge and skills which we have developed over many years but which are too often misunderstood or ignored.
Through her alphabetical approach it is possible to address a huge number of issues in a very accessible way, either dipping into it as needed or reading from beginning to end as a story of how we can improve the experiences of young children in childcare, and every entry comes with a list of references to enable readers to take the subject further.
Informing the whole book is her knowledge and experience of this issue and her passion to support the development of a shared vision and understanding of it.
As she says: 'inclusion is not a fixed state...we all have responsibility and a role to play in challenging discrimination and oppression'."Sue Owen, Independent early years consultant"I have learnt a lot from reading this book - and there is a lot to learn!
Its scope is so enormous that inevitably it cannot cover everything, for example my pet topic of 'the power of assumptions'!
It identifies the complexities of the various aspects of inclusion and touches on the inter-relatedness of many - for example, race and class.
As readers dip into it I hope it will trigger further reading on particular issues and also stimulate more discussion of how institutional procedures and practices, deeply embedded in our society (the 'system'), remain barriers to inclusion.
We all need to identify, understand and break down such barriers so that every one of our precious children, wherever they are, feel they truly belong."Jane Lane, Advocate worker for racial equality in the early years"Mary Dickins has long experience in early years and equality issues and writes from a defined value system.
She encourages a proactive and anti-discriminatory approach which contributes to the development of - in her words - 'a shared vision, understanding and sense of purpose'.
Mary stresses the importance of individual responsibility and transfer of specialist skills to a mainstream context.
This book is a good addition to the continuing debate on inclusion from a clear children's rights perspective and a valuable resource for the early years sector, providing a framework to embed effective inclusive practice."Julie Jennings, Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK