Every child has rights, irrespective of their race, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, and whatever type of family they come from.” (UNICEF, 2006)
Inclusion is a right and every child has a right to be included and to participate in their community. Inclusion happens when children are viewed as capable and valued contributors as opposed to having deficits that need to be fixed. Inclusion is about embracing our diversity as a strength and viewing each child for their unique qualities.
Inclusion is not about ’fixing’ a child or improving their skills so that they fit into the community or education environment. Inclusion focuses on the whole environment, and making changes to it so that all children can participate. In an inclusive environment diversity is acknowledged, respected and viewed as a resource for learning, growth and change.
Inclusion benefits everybody and makes a difference not just for now, but for the future.
Reimagine Australia supports the dignity and rights of each child to learn and grow in an environment that offers opportunities which reflect the holistic way children learn and grow in the wider world of family and community, experiencing responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things.
Reimagine Australia (as Early Childhood Intervention Australia) collaborated with Early Childhood Australia (ECA) to produce a Joint statement on the inclusion of children with disability in early childhood education and care.
Inclusion is a universal human right. The aim of inclusion is to embrace all people irrespective of race, gender, disability, medical or other need. It is about giving equal access and opportunities and getting rid of discrimination and intolerance. Research shows that all children benefit from belonging to, and participating in, quality inclusive communities, including education and care settings.
An inclusive environment provides a unique opportunity for children to play, develop and learn together with children of their own age. These relationships are the foundations for learning and provide a powerful way of belonging to a group and developing a sense of who they are.
Children with a disability share universal rights with all people, and share the additional rights of all children as identified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The specific rights of children with a disability are expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Australia has its own legislation, at both national and at State and Territory levels, which supports the inclusion of children with a disability (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission).
The Commonwealth Government funds an Inclusion Support Program which aims to ensure children with additional needs have access to appropriate, high-quality and inclusive early childhood education services.