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Welcome to the Inclusive Classroom: A Lesson in Emotional Health

How can we help young children be emotionally healthy? It starts with an inclusive experience in the classroom.

This is a place where all children are made to feel they belong. Their languages, cultures and learning styles are embraced and valued for their uniqueness. As Erikson Assistant Professor Meghan Green describes it, “An inclusive space is one classroom, not parts, where these children feel of one community. A classroom where the whole child is seen, not just pieces of them.”

Learning to be “me”.

For young children, learning who they are is just as important as their A B Cs and 1 2 3s. We know children are experts at “reading the room”. And they are very aware of their place in it. That’s one of the reasons the impact of inclusion can be far reaching. It affects a child’s identity development and self-esteem. Within a healthy classroom, a child will develop a stronger sense of self, in the way they see themselves in terms of others. A teacher who understands how to support children’s emotional health and well-being is invaluable.

EQ takes a front row seat.

Inclusive classrooms support emotional intelligence, or EQ. This is how young children understand their feelings, identify their emotions and discover productive ways to manage them. So when they get frustrated or flustered by a situation, they’re more able to respond positively. This learned awareness also supports the child’s sense of self, which in turn, fosters empathy. Children who are in an inclusive environment are more likely to respect not only themselves, but adults and peers alike, so conflict can be reduced.

New realities call for new skills.

The teacher’s role in the inclusive classroom has become increasingly important. Our society is ever evolving and becoming more diverse. Preparing for a classroom that includes bilingual and multilingual children, as well as children living with special needs empowers you to create an emotionally healthy environment for all your young learners.

As experts in early childhood education and child development, Erikson Institute is proud to be the first institution in Illinois to offer a master’s degree with Triple Endorsement, which prepares you with three certifications: early childhood, bilingual/ESL and special education. It’s no surprise that the demand for teachers with these skills is rapidly growing.

Inclusive education benefits everyone.

When all children are valued for their unique lived experiences, the entire class prospers. Research shows that an inclusive classroom with diverse learners educates everyone in powerful ways. “A large body of research indicates that included students develop stronger skills in reading and mathematics, have higher rates of attendance, are less likely to have behavioral problems,.” 1 In addition, according to the Institute of Education Sciences, “Mainly, the social effects of inclusion are reduction of fear, hostility, prejudice, and discrimination as well as increase of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding.”2

The lesson is clear.

Inclusion improves emotional well-being and makes children more resilient. And with the skills and knowledge you acquire through Erikson’s Triple Endorsement Program, you’ll have what you need to make an enduring difference. Be a teacher who supports children’s emotional health. With the right training, you can make your classroom an inclusive one.

Learn more about Erikson’s Triple Endorsement program.

Summer enrollment is now open.


1 “A Summary of the Evidence on Inclusive Education”, Abt Associates, Instituto Alana, 2016. Authors: Dr. Thomas Hehir Dr. Todd Grindal Brian Freeman Renée Lamoreau Yolanda Borquaye Samantha Burke

2 “Academic and Social Effects of Inclusion on Students without Disabilities: A Review of the Literature”, Education Sciences, v11 Article 16, 2021, authors: Ayse Kart, Mehmet Kart,tolerance%2C%20acceptance%2C%20and%20understanding.

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