Diversity & Inclusion in Early Childhood: An Introduction


Chandrika Devarakonda

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    Let Us Pray

    Dear god

    We thank you in many different ways

    And thank you for making us all different

    If we were not varied, our lives would be plain boring

    It does not matter where people come from or what religion they are

    We should treat everyone equally, and not leave them out, just because they are

    Different from us

    Help us to appreciate every one, and how they are Amen

    By Anuradha Ponnapalli

    7 years

    This poem illustrates how children are inclusive and open. Although they do recognise the differences, they are happy to accept these unconditionally. They are, however, influenced by their families, peer group, practitioners and teachers from settings such as early childhood settings and schools.

    This poem shows how positive experiences will enable young children to embrace diversity from a young age. This book will attempt to explore several issues around inclusion from the perspective of children, parents and practitioners.

    List of Figures and Tables

    • I.1 The flow of the concept of inclusion policy at different levels 4
    • I.2 Some terms that have been associated with inclusion 7
    • 4.1 Child's perspective of EAL 78
    • 4.2 Welcome poster 89
    • 5.1 Model for developing cultural competence 107
    • C.1 Needs of children in an inclusive setting 163
    • I.1 Analysis of definitions presented 2
    • 6.1 SEN and disabilities 118
    • 7.1 Percentages of primary type of need among pupils at School Action Plus and with statements aged 4 to 10 years in 2011 142

    About the Author

    Chandrika Devarakonda is a senior lecturer at University of Chester, UK. Her background in child development and her passion for inclusion have influenced her teaching and research interests. Her research interests lie in inclusion, children's rights, diversity and international perspectives of early childhood education. She has worked in a further education (FE) college in Manchester for 10 years teaching early childhood and health and social care courses. She has worked with disabled children in different settings, including special schools, and in community-based rehabilitation centres in India.


    I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the following people who have influenced me and supported me.

    I would like to thank my mother and father for being my inspiration and instilling in me good values and being my first educators. I would not have achieved much without your words of wisdom.

    I would like to express my thanks to my father- and mother-in-law for being kind and supportive. My husband, Prasad, has been my pillar of strength and provided moral support. My daughter Anuradha has kept me in good cheer and enabled me to understand the concept of inclusion by sharing her experiences in the early childhood settings. All my brothers- and sisters-in-law have constantly encouraged me in this endeavour.

    Professor Jeyachandran and Mrs and Mr Ramaswami have been responsible for tapping my potential, Professor Peter Farrell and Professor Peter Clough for sowing seeds of confidence and believing in me.

    Thanks to my friends: Barbara Oxley for reading and commenting on my draft chapters promptly, Frances Atherton for her constant support, and Kate Wilkinson who has been inspirational and who is sadly missed. Karen Turner for all the discussions we had about inclusion and all my students on the Early Childhood Studies courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, who actively participated in discussions and shared their perceptions of inclusion. In addition, they constantly reminded me of the lack of a book that covered inclusion from a wider perspective that sparked the idea for this book.

    I am grateful to Sage Publications, especially Jude Bowen for her enthusiasm and positive belief, sharing my vision of the book and being a constant source of encouragement, as well as Amy, Alex, Miriam, Jeanette and others for their patience and support through the whole process. I appreciate the constructive comments on the book proposal as well as draft chapters from reviewers. I would like to express my thanks to all the authors who gave permission to use their valuable work.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for making this dream come true.

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