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There’s More to Learn in an Inclusive Classroom

An inclusive space teaches more than the day’s lessons. By embracing a diversity of cultural identity, language and development, inclusion teaches children that they belong and that they are valued as they are. It encourages engagement and participation and welcomes their curiosity. An inclusive classroom builds self-esteem and opens access points that are fundamental to academic success for every child, impacting their learning and their long-term sense of self.

Set children up for success

Lilly Padía, Assistant Professor of Raciolinguistic Justice at Erikson Institute says, “By design, a classroom can be transformed into a more accessible space for a diverse group of learners. Never try to ‘fix’ the child. Try to fix the learning process so it’s easier for them.”

For example, does the classroom space allow autonomy where children can build their own skills? Are supplies in a place where a child with mobility challenges can easily access them without having to ask a teacher? Are there multiple opportunities for children to express themselves, like painting, drawing, puppets, music and dance? Language is just one of many valuable ways children can communicate. Offering more possibilities sets them up for more successful learning.

Measure the right milestones

In an inclusive classroom, teachers understand that children reach developmental milestones in their own time. Padía observes, “We need to destabilize the idea that there is one normal way to be a child. At Erikson, we say ‘meet the child where they are and focus on facilitating opportunities for engagement.’”

Teachers and childcare providers can be empowered with an understanding of what child development milestones to look for, and how to support every child to attain them. This can be done by observing and responding to an individual child’s strengths and needs.

Make a difference by embracing what’s different

Academic success involves a child’s ability to respond, interact with peers and adults, engage with class materials, and be part of a group. The power of an inclusive classroom is that it fosters these opportunities for all children. Perhaps most importantly, inclusion builds children’s confidence. According to, “Inclusion gives kids a way to talk about how everyone learns in their own way. They may find that they have more in common with other kids than they thought. This can go a long way in helping kids know that difference is just a normal part of life.”1

Create an inclusive classroom

At Erikson, our Early Childhood Education Triple Endorsement program prepares you to create inclusive spaces that welcome multi-culturalism and diverse learning styles. With a deep body of child development knowledge and applicable skills, Erikson equips educators to support every child, and incorporate useful strategies into the classroom practice. Through Erikson’s focus on reflective practice, your own individual understanding is both honored and integrated into the learning process. Like the children we serve, teachers are always learning. Our program honors the diversity of our graduate students so they can support the academic success of the students they teach.

Learn more about Erikson’s Triple Endorsement program

Summer enrollment is now open.


1 “4 Benefits of Inclusive Classrooms” , by the Understood Team. Understood for All, Inc. 96 Morton Street, Floor 5 New York, New York 10014

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