Blog # 11B
January 11, 2017
This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Moraima Avalos who is studying for an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education at the City College of New York. For her masters degree, she plans to major in Early Childhood to broaden her understanding of young children as she wants to focus predominantly on kindergarten students who live in troubled homes.
Today's focus on Inclusive classrooms was a topic close to home for me. Both my parents are licensed special education teachers. My mother is an occupational therapist in early childhood agencies and I have become accustomed to being near children with special needs and have a soft spot in my heart for them.
We took a long drive to the school and finally reached it. The school, located near a couple of other government and private schools, had a beautiful campus. You could tell from the outside that this was a wealthier school. It was more of a college campus feel or even a boarding school feel which was interesting being that this school welcomes so many children with disabilities. This made me think that the administration really cared for the comfort of the students.
As the director of the special need department spoke to us, she informed us of the
importance of making all students feel connected with the rest of society. The
vision of the department is that all children should be given equal
opportunity. Their school was committed to inclusion and felt that it is part
of their DNA. Since the opening of this school, more schools have now made
inclusion classes a part of their curriculum.
“All children can learn, every child has a right to learn” and if we accept that
then we all believe in inclusion. Their ways of preventing this is through
sensitization and awareness about people with different needs and also learning to
accept. Here in India, some people haven't accepted the thought of special
needs kids due to lack of exposure, lack of knowledge and lack of motivation
which leads to negative feelings and false beliefs.
We then divided into two groups, one group visiting the higher grade classrooms and the other visiting the early childhood classrooms. As I am interested in kindergarten, I decided to visit the younger grade classrooms to know the different ways they instill independence and creativity. As we walked through the beautifully, colored halls; all the halls were filled with artwork from the students. Some of the classes were REM (remedial department) with 1-30 students following a mainstream curriculum. Other classes are NIOS (National institute of Open Schooling) and last, CSE (Center of Special Ed). NIOS focuses on students who are interested in sports or other hobbies and don't have much time to focus on education so this gives them a slower pace with 1-2 subjects in a year but the same work. CSE focuses on students with I.E.P and a ratio of 1:6. They differentiate planning for each student at different levels and incorporate ADA programs which enhance daily living skills. As we walked around the classrooms I could see the creativity integrated into the curriculum. We even saw a classroom that helps the students learn independent living so they can leave school with these schools. It is important to make everyone aware of the ability of all children to learn . This school’s vision was very inspiring and I'm happy they feel it is important to give all students the same opportunity.