Including Children with Chronic Health Conditions in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings

Musgrave, Jackie and Levy, Rachael (2019). Including Children with Chronic Health Conditions in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings. Journal of Early Childhood Research (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1476718x19875776

Abstract

This paper sheds light on how chronic health conditions impact upon concepts of inclusion in children’s Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in England; it draws upon findings from a small-scale research project which highlights the need to consider health, in particular, the impact of chronic health conditions (CHCs) on ECEC. The study was conducted in two stages, part one involved a postal questionnaire to 60 Early Childhood settings and stage two included interviews with 6 practitioners in 4 settings, interviews with parents and observations of a child (called ‘DJ’) in his setting over the course of a year. The findings from this study indicate that in an attempt to be inclusive, practitioners may be unintentionally exclusive in their practice. The data suggests that this may be as a consequence of practitioners having different understandings and definitions of what is meant by the term inclusion, leading to confusion about the aims of inclusion. The findings indicate that there is a need to identify what effective pedagogy is for children with CHCs, as well as a need to re-define inclusion in relation to their needs.

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