At Educara Montessori childcare we aim to be inclusive of all children, including those with individualized plans. Some of the ways we do this by creating an environment that encourages freedom of choice, activities, and space for movement, imaginative play, and reality-based hands-on learning and exploration. We aim to create an environment that is designed for the child to feel welcome. As well, we do this by making inclusion a topic at staff meetings and having discussions around it.
In our classrooms you will find areas for indirect and direct hands-on learning materials for mathematics, language, sensory activities, culture, and practical life/exploration. You will also see areas for gross motor activities, such as a yoga corner or music, a and peace table or quiet area for some alone time or rest. In both rooms you will find an imaginative play area, such as a kitchen or laundry area where children are able to role play, experimenting with decision making and working on social skills. This rage of opportunity and freedom of choice allows for all children to feel welcome and find an area that they can enjoy.
In our environment all shelving and activities are low and at the age-appropriate levels, allowing all children to be able to easily access activities they would like to try, excluding some activities with smaller pieces where there may be a requirement for a teacher to bring down.
During our PD day staff meeting, we have begun and are continuing to include inclusion as a topic and openly discuss. This helps all staff to have a good understanding of what it means to be inclusive and strategies to do so. This also allows space to freely ask questions or exchange experiences and help guide each other to be as inclusive as possible.