Inclusion Further Reading

We hope you find these suggestions for further reading helpful.  We have provided links where appropriate, but in many cases a subscription will be required to access a particular research article.  Where an article is available without charge on another website, we have included a link to that for your information.  In the case of subscription articles, we do not recommend any particular provider and suggest that you use the information provided below to help you identify the most appropriate research source for you.

Devarakonda, C. (2014) Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood: An Introduction. London: Sage Publications.

The success of this book is in its ability to explore inclusion from a wide perspective. It offers a range of thought-provoking material, such as reflective questions, debates and controversies, practitioner, parent and children’s views, legislation, activities, and examples of good practice. Covering a wide range of concepts and taking a broader perspective of what inclusion entail, this book offers an overview of current research, policy and practice in diversity and inclusion in the early years. It is a clear introduction to what inclusive practice means for those working with young children in the early stages of their lives.

Grieshaber, S. and Cannella, G. (Eds.) (2001) Embracing Identities in Early Childhood Education: Diversity and Possibilities. New York: Teachers College Press.

Drawing on the work of early childhood teachers and teacher educators, this volume provides examples of creative ways in which practitioners and theorists are rethinking their work. Grounded in principles of equity, difference, and the recognition of racial, ethnic and sexual diversity, the text seeks to open possibilities for thought and action. The contributors provide a range of thinking, theorizing and practical applications on topical issues in the field such as: issues of equity and fairness in observing young children; gender identities in the early years; and working with non-traditional families.

Robinson, K. and Jones Dias, C. (2005) Diversity and difference in early childhood education: issues for theory and practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Providing insight into how social justice practices in early childhood can make a real difference in the lives of children and their families, this publication goes beyond simplistic definitions of diversity, encouraging a much broader understanding and helping early childhood educators develop a critical disposition towards assumptions about children and childhood in relation to diversity, difference and social justice. As well as drawing on research, each chapter interrogates practice and explores opportunities and strategies for creating a more equitable environment. The book covers a number of issues impacting on children’s lives, including globalization, new racisms, immigration, refugees, homophobia, heterosexism and constructions of childhood, focusing on the implications for practice, and recommended readings.

Schoorman, D. (2011) Reconceptualizing Teacher Education as a Social Justice Undertaking: Underscoring the Urgency for Critical Multiculturalism in Early Childhood Education, Childhood Education, 87:5, 341-344

The author argues that while children entering our education systems are increasingly culturally diverse, the field itself has come under siege from standardisation and accountability proponents touting a “one-size-fits-all” approach to early childhood education and seeking to impose a similar testing regime to that currently engulfing later grades. To challenge and change existing educational cultures she proposes that teaching programs should be re-conceptualised around principles of critical pedagogy and social justice. This article reminds us that education is a political act, implying that it can be used for both oppressive and liberating, requiring awareness of the power dynamics involved in the making of education policy.

Nutbrown, C. and Clough, P. (2004) Inclusion and exclusion in the early years: conversations with European educators, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 19:3, 301-315

This paper reports a study to investigate the views of early childhood educators working in a range of early childhood settings in four European countries, Denmark, Greece, Italy and the UK. Summarising the findings the authors emphasise (1) the importance of personal/professional experience in the development of individual educators’ attitudes and practices to exceptional children and their families; (2) the importance of properly resourced and critically informed continuing professional development at an advanced (and accredited) higher education level; (3) the prevalence of ‘hierarchies of tolerance’ which reflect principled expressions of inclusive ideology in parallel with the maintenance of practices which effectively and selectively exclude  and (4) the primacy of the role of the parent and home in children’s early learning and development. At the same time differing pedagogical traditions and policies, differing economic, political factors and diverse individual cultural responses are acknowledged.

Petriwskyj, A., Thorpe, K. and Tayler, C. (2014) Towards inclusion: provision for diversity in the transition to school, International Journal of Early Years Education, 22:4, 359-379.

The authors of this paper point out that policies of inclusion challenge the construct of readiness (important in the current English political context) and require schools to prepare for the diversity of children as they transition to school. The paper investigates two Australian studies investigating this topic, showing that both quantity and quality provision influence outcomes and that these were particularly potent for children with diverse abilities and backgrounds. The children were of linguistic diversity. The study considers both children identified as having difficulties prior to school, and those who made poor progress in their first year of school. The findings include the need for systematic approaches to manage diversity and complexity, rather than reliance on children’s readiness or reactive single-issue responses. High-quality early learning and continuity of early learning experiences matter for all children, but these conditions can provide particular, sustained benefits to diverse learners.

Marsh, J. (1999) Batman and Batwoman go to School: popular culture in the literacy curriculum. International Journal of Early Years Education, 7:2, 117-131.

This study investigates the effects of an adult-planned theme from popular culture into a role-play area, focusing on its impact on children’s literacy activities. The findings provide a vision of how inclusive classrooms could be if teachers engage in the dialogic process of children’s sub-cultures, and acknowledge the inherent pleasures they bring. The ‘Batman and Batwoman HQ’ provided opportunities for a number of children to push the boundaries of their marginality from the usual discourses of the classroom, motivating children who were not usually interested in either playing in role play areas, writing or both. It created a rich classroom environment that stimulated a wealth of literacy activities over a sustained period of time and raised issues of class, ethnicity and gender.

Tracey Costley (2014) English as an additional language, policy and the teaching and learning of English in England, Language and Education, 28:3, 276-292.

Important changes have occurred at all levels of English society during the past sixty years, in terms of its ethnic and cultural composition as well as educational organisation, provision and classroom practice. Against this historical backdrop, this paper highlights what we can learn from past policy and how it may inform where we might be heading, drawing attention to children with English as an Additional Learners (EAL) in state-funded education in England. The author concludes ‘how little we seem to have moved from policy frameworks that are essentially assimilationist in orientation’

Department for Education. (2014) Early Years: Guide to the 0 to 25 SEND Code of Practice:  Advice for early years providers that are funded by the local authority. London: Department for Education.

This recent guide from the Department for Education, for early years providers sets out the new code of practice and principles that will raise aspirations and expectations and improve outcomes for children with special educational needs or disabilities in the Foundation Stage. It includes guidance on identifying children with SEND and their provision, emphasising that the early years are the beginning of a continuum in education that will have impact on later schooling and subsequent employment, independent living, health and community participation.

Devarakonda, C. (2012) Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood: An Introduction. London: Sage Publications.

Arguing that inclusion as a concept has been shrouded by confusion, misunderstandings and differences of opinion, the author emphasises that it remains a significant issue and has diverse origins and influences. This book offers an overview of current research, policy and practice in diversity and inclusion in the early years. With case studies and activities relating to diverse situations, the author discusses the main issues surrounding diversity and inclusion including race, gender, culture, disability and SEN, EAL and Traveller children.

Karen Hawkins (2014)  Teaching for social justice, social responsibility and social inclusion: a respectful pedagogy for twenty-first century early childhood education. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 22:5.

This research project examined preschoolers’ growing understandings of social justice in relation to the Three Ds, Difference, Diversity and Human Dignity, and investigated ways that assisted the preschool teachers (who were co-researchers) to develop a curriculum that raised their preschoolers’ positive awareness of and sensitivities to social justice issues.

Angelides, P. and Michaelidou, A. (2009) The deafening silence: discussing children’s drawings for understanding and addressing marginalization. Journal of Early Childhood Research, February 2009, 7(1), 27-45.

Researchers who deal with inclusive education have made great efforts to listen to the voices of children in order to understand marginalization. Despite the fact that these efforts take place, the voices of many children fail to be heard and hence many children continue to be marginalized. The authors demonstrate how children’s drawings and simultaneous discussion with the child who created the drawing can help develop a richer understanding of marginalization.

Devarakonda, C. (2012) Diversity and Inclusion in Early Childhood: An Introduction.  London: Sage Publications.


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