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Building Inclusive Environments Assignment

#1
Kayte Canning
Heather Kay
October 31, 2016
Book Area

I have chosen to design the book area. The reason that I chose this is

because I see it as a very important area, where children can research,

discover, and develop many skills. Also, it is always the area I have been

drawn to in Child care settings, both when I was a child as well as now, as an

adult.

Environment

a. Use of colour
For the book area, I am planning to choose a light green colour for the

walls. Per Color Psychology- the emotional effects of colors, because

the eye focuses the color green directly on the retina, it is said to be

less strainful on your eye muscles (Art Therapy, para 6, 2016). This

means that because green is less strainful, it is more relaxing than

other colours. Because of this, it will be good for the hypersensitive

child, because they are sensory avoidant, and do not want colours that

are over stimulating. This may make the hyposensitive child less drawn

to the book area, but I can make up for that by providing sensory

stimulating options within this area of the environment.


b. Size of the learning area
The size of the book area must not be too big, or it will be too difficult

for the hypersensitive child to focus. However, it must be big enough

that an adult could fit in with the child who has an intellectual

challenge and requires assistance reading. Also, it must be big enough


that a child with a physical exceptionality who uses an assistive device

(for example: a wheelchair) can access the area and all its materials

independently.
c. Number of children in area
Through our ECE course, we have learned that controlling the number

of children in an area can limit a childs play. I think that if they are all

playing together and the area becomes over crowded, a child with

Sensory Processing Disorder or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may be

stressed out by this situation, or a child with a physical exceptionality

could be physically hurt. As educators, we must monitor the

environment to ensure that certain areas do not become overly

crowded. Also, we want to ensure that the book area remains a calm

area where children can come to relax, rest, and regulate their

emotions. We can do this by directing group play to a larger area and

reminding them that the book area is a quiet place.


d. Type of Lighting
I will put the book area in a darker corner away from windows, and if

possible, away from fluorescent lights. This way, the child with

hypersensitivity or FAS will not be overstimulated. I will put lighting in

the area that the children can control to meet their needs as they

engage in reading/ looking at books. This will include a string of

Christmas lights, lamps, and flashlights. This will help the child with

executive functioning challenges as they can practice carrying out a

small plan (planning to read, must find and turn on light source).
e. Organization of Area
I will have shelves for the books, but make sure that they are not high

so that the children can easily excess them. I will also try to have

different bins to organize the books. Some could be alphabet books,

non-fiction, pop-up books, etc. I plan to have books for children

who seek sensory stimulation separate from the books for children who

resist it. I will also be constantly looking for and adding books that

encourage diversity and make children with exceptionalities feel

included. There will be blankets and pillows around the perimeter of

the area, rather than a carpet or blanket in the middle, which would

prevent a child who uses a wheelchair from entering the space.

Materials/Toys & Equipment

The following is a list of materials I will have in my inclusive book

environment:

Low bookshelves- so that all children can reach them (smaller children,

children who use a wheelchair, etc.)


Books that feature children/people with varied abilities
Books that will not over stimulate senses
Books that have sensory elements: scents, colours, pop-ups, textures,

etc.
Lamps, flashlights, string lights, so that children can control the

amount of light and which light source works best for them
Pillows, blankets, beanbag chairs
Any supportive chairs that children with physical disabilities may find

helpful
Paper and crayons, as well as other writing tools to assist children with

fine motor challenges


Home made books with photographs of children doing something step

by step
A. There are a variety of materials provided to meet diverse abilities. I

can incorporate a large variety of books and accommodations to

ensure that every child can be interested and included.


B. This environment supports childrens independent use of materials by

ensuring that they are accessible to all children, without adult

assistance. Also, there will be pillows and blankets around the

perimeter of the space, rather than blankets or a carpet in the middle

of the space, so that children with physical exceptionalities will not

have added struggles to accessing the materials.


C. Refer to Environment: e. Organization of area
D. There are a few things I have done to support varied abilities. I have

ensured that there will be accommodations made for children to sit

comfortably. The text, The Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom, says

that some children will need specially designed corner seats, but

others will manage on a beanbag chair or propped against large

pillows (Gould & Sullivan, 1999, p. 37). It will depend on the individual

child what kind of accommodations I will provide, but I can always

make sure that there is something in place to help them be

comfortable in the book area. Making books out of photos of children

doing things step by step would help a child whos Executive


Functioning has not properly developed because they can be read

over and over until the child has learned all the play sequences

(Gould & Sullivan, 1999, p. 106). I have also accommodated for

children with SPD by having neutral colours (pale green), but having

both sensory stimulating and soothing books and materials within the

environment to choose from. Also, a blog post at

blog.brookespublishing.com stresses the importance to make sure

you include multiple ways for children with varying motor skills to

express themselves (The Inclusion Lab, 2015, para 8).


E. I have ensured that the activities are accessible by putting them on a

low shelf, ensuring there are no materials on the ground to get in the

way of a wheel chair/walker/crutches, and making it uncomplicated to

find a specific book or brose through them.

Some great books to have in an inclusive book area are:


All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopmann (about ADHD)
Dont Call Me Special by Pat Thomas (about physical

disabilities)
The Alphabet War by Diane Burton Robb (about dyslexia)
Well Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (about

being the sibling of a child with Down Syndrome)


When My Worries Get Too Big! by Kari Dunn Buron (about

anxiety)
And many more!!!

These titles were retrieved from The Friendship Circle Blog

(Dworcan, 2011).
Reflection

a. The responsibilities of an ECE in an inclusive early learning and care

setting is to design an inclusive environment that is accessible to all

children, support children only when necessary, and encourage their

independence. It is also important that we do thorough research by

reading, talking to the parents, and getting to know the child, to

understand what the child is going through and how we can support

them.
b. The benefits for all children in inclusive care settings are that they

have equal opportunity to learn and discover. Also, it teaches children

to respect differences and be more accepting, which will ultimately

make their lives more meaningful.


c. I can promote inclusion within early learning and care settings by

leading by example. I will work hard to make my environment inclusive

for all children, and this way other educators can use my

ideas/methods and see how much more functional an environment is

when everyone is included. I can also advocate for children who are

not getting the support they need, along with their parents. I have

seen first hand how difficult it can be for parents to get a child the

necessary supports, and I would love to be able to help the process in

any way I can. I can also try to watch for signs of non-visible

exceptionalities, in hopes that they can be diagnosed early and receive

intervention that could make a difference in their lives.


My environment would resemble
this, but the pillows would be on the
ground and there would be no rug
in the middle. There would also be
assistive seating if necessary.

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References
Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors. (2016). Retrieved from
http://www.arttherapyblog.com/online/color-psychology-psychologica-
effects-of- colors/#.WBY0zvorLIU
Dworcan, M. (2011, November 10). Explaining special needs to your child:
15 great children's books - Friendship Circle - Special Needs Blog.
Retrieved October 30, 2016, from
http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2011/11/10/explaining-special-needs-
to- your-child-15-great-childrens-books/
Gould, P., & Sullivan, J. (1999). The inclusive early childhood classroom:
Easy ways to adapt learning centers for all children. Beltsville, MD:
Gryphon House.
7 Ways to Make Your Book Corner More Accessible (Early Childhood
Inclusion Tips) | Inclusion Lab. (2015, October 8). Retrieved October
30, 2016, from http://blog.brookespublishing.com/7-ways-to-make-
your-book-corner-more-accessible- early-childhood-inclusion-tips/