Inclusive Educator Strategies

Provide routine and structure

Make the structure of each day similar but change tasks within the structure to keep the day interesting.
Visual cues can let children know what is coming up, and how they should move from one activity to another.
Children who find moving from one activity to another hard will feel less unsettled if they are aware it is coming up. Provide clear instructions about the transition.

Adapt experiences to be as inclusive as possible

This can help children focus and learn. Frequent breaks may also help.
Link activities to the child’s interests.
Children may pay more attention and learn more when including music or simple games in the learning process.
Materials that cater to varying grip strength, mobility and hand-eye coordination can help include ALL children.
Display rules and instructions on walls, demonstrate how to engage in a behaviour or activity, and engage children using a range of sensory stimuli.
Allow a child to take the time they need to respond or engage in an experience.
Check that you have a child’s attention when giving instructions. Reducing distractions can also help.

Provide a safe space (physically and emotionally)

Consider providing positive feedback and correcting immediately when children are learning a task or behaviour. This can be gradually reduced as they become more capable.
Consider providing a quiet area that a child can go if upset. This space could include items that may help a child calm down, such as sensory supports.
Providing support and encouragement helps a child achieve better results. Focus on a child’s strengths and show a child that they are valued and supported.

Give lots of practice opportunities

Time to practise in different settings and with different materials can help children learn to use that skill in other situations and places.
This helps children to learn tasks and may be more helpful than offering many tasks with little opportunity to practise.
When a task is new, children usually learn best with help (i.e. prompts, demonstrations, encouragement). Help can be gradually reduced as they become more capable. Help can be provided by educators or other children.

Promote child interaction

Children can get to know each other and build friendships through playing and working together. Children can also learn through watching others. Consider ways in which you can facilitate a child’s interactions with others in a group.
Children can learn by imitating others. For example, children could take it in turns to act out a skill or behaviour that the rest of the group copies.
Where possible, aim to keep children as part of the group, rather than in separate areas working with specialists.

Support social, emotional and problem-solving skill development

Consider prompting children to develop social behaviours. These could be asking another child to play, sharing a toy, or waiting their turn.
Identifying the cause of a child’s behaviour can help both the educator and the child feel less frustrated.
Teach children how to find solutions to challenges they face, and how to seek help.
Express empathy, and help children to name what they are feeling. Support them with facing fears gradually, at a level they can manage. Relaxation exercises can help children feel calm.

Collaborate with others

Communicate regularly with parents about their child’s unique strengths, preferences, and abilities. This includes support they feel their child needs and the best methods of communication.
There may be various health professionals involved in supporting the child. Working together can lead to a shared understanding of the child, their goals, and strengths based strategies that are consistent across other environments like home and the community.
Work with the child’s parents as well as the professionals supporting the child to set some specific and measurable outcomes. Aim to set outcomes that focus on the child’s strengths and are challenging enough to support learning and social development.