Inviting and involving children who are the least likely or able to engage
More about "Inclusion" ...
- When you walk into any place with more than one child, you may notice that some children appear to be participating a bit less than the other children, for any number of reasons ranging from ability to temperament to the social and emotional state of the child and the context at that moment. The adult who strives to build a community among children seeks to include every child in the group, regardless of ability or capacity to engage, and to help everyone appreciate the value of each individual.
- In the "X" of the inclusion dimension, these "least likely" children are neglected or excluded, passively or actively, from the rest. There are also situations where children may choose to self-exclude from the activity, but in the "X" of this dimension, there is not attempt to invite or include these children back to the larger group activities. Alone time (taken intentionally) does not make an interaction an "X" – an "X" indicates an element of passive or active exclusion.
- In the "Y" of this dimension, adults may tend to a group of the children and then turn their attention to the "least likely" children separately. The child does get some attention, but the child(ren) is not invited to be a part of the group. Merely interaction with the child separately would not be considered an opportunity to invite and include the child to be a part of the group.
- The focal point is not the format of the interaction, but the essence of invitation from an adult to a child or children to be a part of the group, to feel included. The inclusion does not need to be realized by the child(ren) for a "Z" moment of inclusion. The invitation and opportunity just needs to be an option extended to the child. For the mode to be Z, there needs to be some deliberate effort or design on the part of the teacher to encourage inclusion among the students.
- Both Y and Z can be appropriate for many settings and at many times. There is a theoretical assumption that ultimately children want to feel they belong in a community, not just that they have an individual relationship with a teacher. A good 1:1 relationship is important, but does not replace the importance of "belonging" in the communal sense.