Inclusive Education is the philosophy that all students, with and without disabilities, are welcomed into schools in age-appropriate and regular classes, and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of school life. Schools are at the heart of communities and Sethu believes that committed schools are essential for a quality inclusive education system. Inclusion benefits both – students with and without disabilities. For students with disabilities, it helps develop friendships with their typically developing peers, increasing their social initiations and relations. For students without disabilities, inclusion would help them form meaningful friendships with non-typically developing students and give them an increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences. A respect for all people would be developed and it would prepare them for life in an inclusive society.
TARANG is Sethu’s inclusive education programme offered over the school year at particular schools (without in any way disrupting on-going activities) for the early identification of special needs children and the initiation of as-early-as-possible correctional intervention by our highly qualified team of experienced resource personnel. Sethu is approaching schools that we know have a commitment to the practice of inclusion.
Once schools enroll for the Tarang program, the objectives of excellence in inclusion are accomplished through the following steps:
1) An orientation session is held for the school Head, management and staff to familiarize them with the principles and practices of inclusive education. A simple assessment is conducted to check the school’s present status in its practise of inclusive education.
2) The school provides the names of any two students who have learning and behavioral difficulties. An initial assessment of these children is conducted in close co-operation with their teachers to determine their current levels and identify the best teaching approaches to enhance their learning.
3) An ‘Individualized Education Plan’ (IEP) for every child is developed and provided in writing to the school, which the teacher or teacher’s assistant is expected to follow, under close supervision. This program is reviewed every month and once the chosen goals are achieved, new goals are set with inputs from the class teachers and teaching methods are demonstrated.
4) Subsequently, supervision is provided over following 6 months. During this time, attention is given to the students with special needs, either individually or in related groups along with the class teacher who is provided guidance, techniques & training to support these students. Supervisory visits ensure maintenance of best practices, review of IEPs and collaborative problem solving.
5) The teaching offered through Tarang is comprehensive, meticulously planned and highly structured.
6) All activities are in close consultation and collaboration with principals, teachers and parents. Sethu strongly encourages parent participation to the maximum extent possible so that the home environment reinforces learning in school.
7) Principals and teachers are given information on the best practices in inclusive education to strengthen both their theoretical understanding and practical implementation. A 3-day workshop for preschool teachers wis conducted additional inputs for implementing inclusive education are offered.
8) A lasting benefit that accrues to the partner school is trained staff that can identify children with special needs and know how to teach them appropriately. It is crucial to work cohesively as team and hence communication & cooperation between all the stakeholders such as teachers, staff members, parents and therapist is needed to promote best inclusive practices.