Inclusion in early childhood settings in Aoteara/New Zealand : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Education (Special education) at Massey University, New Zealand
A case study approach was used in two early childhood centres which both operate on a mixed age group licence. Purposive sampling was used to select the settings in this study. They were both selected on the basis of their Education Review Office (ERO) report which identified them as inclusive and meeting all children’s needs. Each case study involved a critical examination of how the ECE settings responded to children’s needs. Families/whānau and teachers’ perspectives on inclusion and their practice of inclusion in early childhood education were explored. The study sought to find out whether teachers and/or centres practise what they say they do. Examples of inclusion in the two case study centres were explored. In these two case studies both qualitative and quantitative data collecting methods were used; this research is a mixed-method research which presents the research findings from questionnaires, focus group interviews, pedagogical documentation analysis and observations. The findings revealed that inclusion can be a success in early childhood education if well managed. The attitude of the partners in an early childhood settings define what happens in the centres. It was concluded that having a positive attitude towards inclusion and working in partnership with parents contributed to the success of inclusion. Collaboration and communication, the quality of teacher child interaction and having inclusive centre policies and procedures which are followed through help make inclusive education happen. The successes and challenges are highlighted, so that other educational services across sectors may learn from the success stories of these two settings whilst having an awareness of the challenges which they may face.