3 Chapter x Chapter 1 Why Inclusion? “I have a child in my group who dumps everything onto the floor.” “One little boy in our class doesn’t talk. He just plays with the same toy bus in the corner.” “Chelsea disrupts the routines. She yells and runs off during group time.” “I don’t know how to support a child who uses a walker. I don’t know how to respond to the other children’s questions about her or to the questions of the other parents.” “I don’t know what this child needs.” Teachers in every kind of early childhood program—family child care, infant- toddler centers, preschools, and elementary schools—encounter children simi- lar to those mentioned above and find themselves asking the same questions. Certain children seem to need support and responses we aren’t sure we know how to provide. Some children may have a particularly hard time picking activities and sticking with them. Others may be aggressive or withdrawn in their connections with their peers. Some may have special physical needs. Still others have difficulty managing transitions or routines. As teachers, we like to feel that we “know” children and have the skills to help them thrive in group settings. But there are always some children, or some things about all children, that we feel we don’t “know”—or at least we aren’t sure what we can do to support them. There’s No Blueprint We—the three authors of this book—are not specialists, nor are we special education teachers. We are, respectively, the director, program director, and lead teacher in a traditional, part-time nursery school. We, along with the rest of our staff, became interested in taking an active approach to adopting an IOIATextFINAL.indd 3 12/14/09 3:39:34 PM