Inclusive Education Practice of Two Private Kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration

Master's Thesis, 2018

105 Pages


Table Contents


Table of Contents

List of Tables



Chapter One
1. Introduction
1.1. Background of the Study
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Objectives of the Study
1.3.1. General Objective
1.3.2.Specific Objectives
1.4. Significance of the Study
1.5. Scope of the Study
1.6. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
1.7. Operational Definition of Terminologies
1.8. Limitation of the Study
1.9. Organization of the Paper

Chapter Two
2. Review of the Related Literature
2.1. Definition of Early Childhood Inclusion
2.2. Rational for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education
2.2.1. Human Right & Moral/Ethical Justification
2.2.2. Brain Development
2.2.3. Social Equity and Reducing Early Disadvantage
2.2.4. Economic Justification
2.3. Inclusion in Education
2.4. Historical Development of Early Childhood Inclusive Education
2.5. Elements of Inclusive Education
2.5.1. Environment, Engagement and Inclusion
2.5.2. Communication and Technology Support
2.5.3. Behavioral Support and Social Skills
2.6. Benefits of Early Childhood Inclusion and Intervention
2.6.1. Academic and Social Benefits to Children with Disability
2.6.2. Academic and Social Benefits to Children without Disability
2.6.3. Benefits to Teachers
2.6.4. Benefits to Parents
2.7. Features of Inclusive Kindergartens
2.8. Factors Hindering Implementation of Childhood Inclusive Education
2.8.1. Lack of Teacher Training
2.8.2. Lack of Support Staff.
2.8.3. Social Pressure
2.8.4. Lack of Staff Collaboration
2.8.5. Perceptions and Attitudes toward Inclusion
2.9. Policy Issues in Inclusive Early Childhood Education
2.9.1. International Declarations and Conventions
2.9.2. National Guidelines and Strategies
2.10. Roles of Stakeholders to Implement Inclusive Education
2.10.1. Role of Administrators
2.10.2. Role of Teachers
2.10.3. Parental Role in Implementation of Inclusive Education

Chapter Three
3. Research Methodology
3.1. Research Method
3.2. Research Design
3.3. Key Informants
3.4. Sampling Procedures
3.5. Tools of Data Collection
3.5.1. Participant Observation
3.5.2. Semi-Structured Interview
3.5.3. Focus Group Discussion
3.5.4. Document Analysis
3.6. Reliability and Validity
3.7. Data Collection Procedure
3.8. Method of Data Analysis and Interpretation
3.9. Ethical Considerations

Chapter Four
4. Data Analysis and Interpretation
4.1. Key Informants Demographic Information
4.2. RQ1: Status of implementation of Inclusive Education in two KGs
4.3. RQ2: Challenges faced in the process of implementing IE
4.3.1. Factors Related to Training
4.3.2. Awareness Related Barriers
4.3.3. Factors Related to Material Availability
4.3.4. Attempts Made to Alleviate the Problem
4.4. RQ 3: Role of Stakeholders in the Implementation of IECCE
4.4.1. Government Collaboration
4.4.2. Parent Collaboration

Chapter Five
5. Discussion of Major Findings

Chapter Six
6. Summary, Conclusion and Implications
6.1. Summary
6.2. Conclusion
6.3. Implications for the Further Action




Above all, I would like to thank my Almighty God for his great love, care and mercy throughout the entire period of the study. There are many institutions and individuals who contributed to the accomplishment of this thesis. Since it is impossible to mention everyone, I remain grateful to them all. However, there are some to whom I am particularly indebted. First and foremost, my sincere gratitude goes to my advisor Laureate Professor Tirussew Teferra, who devoted a lot of time and rendered me scholarly and professional guidance and input all through the study. His constructive and critical comments shaped my overall activities and brought me towards the success now I am enjoying.

I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to Hawassa College of Teacher Education for the sponsorship of my study. I would like to thank the kindergarten teachers, assistants, directors and officers from the centers who voluntarily participated in this study. My beloved wife Konjit Markos, my son Mintesinot Dereje, my mother Amsalech (Shena) Duchisho and my father Dakamo Tomora for their encouragement, patience and prayers during the working period have to be thanked. Indeed they were pillars always in my strength that their strong commitment had a great effort in my life.

I also extend a word of gratitude to all my friends and workmates for their contribution and support in every step I made in completion of my thesis. I wish to acknowledge all those who contributed directly or indirectly towards the success of this work. Authors and researchers whose work is reviewed critically in this report are also duly acknowledged.


CRC - Convention on the Right of Child

CRPwD - Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability

CwSEN - Children with Special Educational Needs

DEC - Division for Early Childhood

ECCE -Early Childhood Care and Education

EFA - Education for All

ESAA - Education Statistics Annual Abstracts

ETP - Education and Training Policy

FDG - Focus Group Discussion

FDRE - Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

GEQIP - General Education Quality Improvement Program

IE - Inclusive Education

IECCE - Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education

KG - Kindergarten

MoE - Ministry of Education

NAEYC - National Association for Education of Young Children

NPS - National Preschool Standard

SNE - Special Need Education

UDL - Universal Design for Learning

UNESCO - United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNICEF - United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

ZPD - Zone of Proximal Development


This study was aimed at investigating the implementation of inclusive education in two private kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration. Early inclusion and intervention has the greatest impact on child’s learning and development. Conducting research on this kind of issue is expected to have a significant role providing insights to improve the practice. Factors that hinder proper implementation of inclusive education in selected private kindergartens had been investigated across this research. To find solution for the problem stated above, all participants who were believed to give rich information were purposively selected. Qualitative research method specifically phenomenological approach was employed and all necessary studies conducted before were critically reviewed. There were about twenty eight key informants involved in the study. They were six children with disabilities, two kindergarten principals, twelve teachers/assistants, six parents and two officers from the centers. Document analysis, semi-structured interview, participant observation and focus group discussion were data gathering tools employed. All raw data were transcribed and narrated in to meaningful report. Even though both kindergartens claim that they are inclusive, finding shows that they are not inclusive. Neither physical nor social environment of both kindergartens was accessible for children with disabilities. Absence of trained manpower, lack of knowledge with regard to inclusion of children with special needs and negative attitude of the parents were factors hindering the implementation of inclusive education in the kindergartens. Findings imply that teachers, principals and parents need awareness raising training, and private kindergartens have to assign special need education teachers so as to promote inclusion of children with disabilities.

Key Terms: Inclusive Education, Practice, Private Kindergarten

Chapter One

1. Introduction

1.1. Background of the Study

UNESCO, (2014) states that early childhood is the period from prenatal development to eight years of life. It is a crucial phase of growth and development because experiences during early childhood can influence outcomes across the entire course of an individual’s life. For all children, early childhood provides an important window of opportunity to prepare the foundation for life-long learning and participation, while preventing potential delays in development and disabilities. For children who experience disability, it is a vital time to ensure access to interventions which can help them reach their full potential.

Early intervention and education for children with disabilities can have a positive impact on a child’s cognitive and social development. Inclusion for early childhood programs supports the right of all children, regardless of abilities, to participate actively in natural settings within their communities. Natural settings are such as home, preschool, kindergarten, community, school classroom, child care center, place of worship, recreational space, and other settings that young children and families enjoy (Raver, S.A., 2009).

According to Neaum, S and Tailack, J. (2000), the young child’s active participation should be guided by developmentally and individually appropriate curriculum. Access to and participation in age appropriate general curriculum becomes central to the identification and provision of specialized support services. High quality early childhood programs form the foundation for high quality inclusive programs from which all children benefit.

Despite being more vulnerable to developmental risks, young children with disabilities are often overlooked in mainstream programs and services designed to ensure child development. They also do not receive the specific supports required to meet their rights and needs. If children with disabilities and their families are not provided with timely and appropriate early intervention, support and protection, their difficulties can become more severe often leading to lifetime consequences, increased poverty and profound exclusion. Successful practice of inclusive care and education is characterized by presence, participation and achievement of young children with special needs in the same setting (Neaum, S. and Tailack, J. 2000).

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities highlight how children with disabilities have the same rights as other children for example to health care, nutrition, education, social inclusion and protection from violence, abuse and neglect. Ensuring access to appropriate support, such as early childhood intervention (ECI) and education, can fulfill the rights of children with disabilities, promoting rich and fulfilling childhoods and preparing them for full and meaningful participation in adulthood.

UNESCO (2006), describes inclusive education as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all children through inclusive practices in learning, cultures and communities and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of the appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the regular system to educate all children”.

Inclusive Education is believed to highlight the needs of children with disabilities. It has shown a great progress in the education systems of many countries. Whereas some of these initiatives have helped some previously excluded children to receive care and education, they have needlessly been at odds with the vision of the Salamanca Statement and have in some cases seriously undermined it. For example, the UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report on Quality Education (2005) attempted to focus on those who were most at risk of being excluded from education (UNESCO, 2006).

Ethiopian constitution accepts the international declarations and conventions, and states education as human right. In line with the international declarations, conventions and policies, it establishes the universal right to education, emphasizes the need to allocate resources and provide assistance to disadvantaged groups. In line with the constitution Ethiopian Education and Training Policy (1994), directs implementation and development towards inclusive education for all. It states that education is not only a right but also a guarantee for development. Again it assures that disadvantaged groups will receive special support in education.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Every child is unique. Children have their own strengths and weaknesses. Their development progresses according to certain sequences, but the pace may vary. It is natural that some children may excel in certain areas but have deficiencies in other areas. However, if children display marked problems or difficulties in one or more developmental area(s), and their performance shows significant discrepancies compared with other children of the same age, it is advisable to provide necessary support for the individual child (Woods M. 1998).

Making learning accessible for children with special educational needs is getting a global issue. Different conventions, right movements and struggles that can enhance inclusive education are taking place among the world nations. Florian and McLaughlin (2008:3) elucidate, “in many countries the number of children being identified as in need of special support provision is highly increasing”. Consequently, countries are now shifting to a new way in making efforts to accommodate the needs of these learners. Inclusive Education has become a paradigm that is assumed to change the world of education.

According to UNESCO (2005), Inclusive Education is a concept that assumes children with or without disabilities can learn together regardless of diversity. It is all about thinking all children are a part of society; the community helps the development of resources where all children are equally valued and have the same opportunities for participation, the underlying values of an educational system is acceptance and belongingness. It assumes that with good teaching, each child can learn a given appropriate environment, encouragement, and meaningful activities.

Wall K., (2011), argues that there is no better time or place to begin accessing inclusive communities than in preschool. Simply assigning a child in a setting with typical, same-age peers, without support and collaboration of key stakeholders can be very stressful for the child, family, and staff. Mohay H. & Ried E., (2006), also underline that effective inclusion support must be a careful, collaborative process that creatively plans and delivers the specialized services, accommodations, curriculum modifications, and differentiated instructional strategies appropriate to the specific needs and interests of each child.

Today a lot of infants and young children with and without disabilities play, develop, and learn together in a variety of places like home, early childhood programs, neighborhoods, and other community based settings. The notion that young children with disabilities and their families are full members of the community reveals societal values about promoting opportunities for development and learning, and a sense of belonging for every child. Tirussew T., Teka Z., Belay T., Belay H., and Demeke G. (2008), state that this growing interest has been scientifically, legally, morally, philosophically and economically justified.

According to Tirussew T. et al, (2008) there is no better way to break the cycle of poverty and inequality than to invest in children. However, millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to appropriate care and education. The situation of children with disabilities by far is worse than children without disabilities. As a matter of fact most of them are deprived from any form of early stimulation, early childhood education and subject to different forms of abuses locked behind the back doors. The core cause for excluding such children from the mainstream society is embedded how society perceives and cognitively constructs disabling factors and disability (Demisew A. 2014).

The participation of children with disabilities in ECCE is extremely discouraging and almost non-existent. According to the recent statistical report of the Ministry of Education, the participation rate of pre-primary enrollment of children in Ethiopia is about 2,958,803 (Ministry of Education, 2015/16), which doesn’t show figure regarding children with disabilities. This is also an implication for less participation of children with disabilities in the early childhood care and education settings. It can show that the possibility of early inclusion is almost getting low hence children are believed to transit through early childhood care and education.

The Ethiopian government has already developed the Special Needs Education Strategy Program of the Ministry of Education (2012), which promotes the philosophy of inclusive education as opposed to the education of children with disabilities in special or segregated schools. The current movement is towards inclusive education with the goal of mainstreaming children with disabilities in general or regular schools with the aim of making education accessible for all. This is a shift of paradigm which has far reaching ramifications on the rights, education, economic and psycho-social development of children with disabilities in the country (Tirussew Teferra, 2005).

Exclusion of children with disabilities in the early years of development is more disabling that the disability puts them in the vicious cycle of poverty constituting the poorest of the poor in the continent (Tirussew Teferra. 2008). He states that in order to improve the present status- quo of early childhood care and education, as well the participation rate of children with disability, require the mobilization of local, national and international resources. To this effect, at a grassroots level, parents and teachers can play a tremendous role for the holistic development of the children.

In Ethiopia, there are a lot of preschoolers with disabilities in need of accessible early years care and education. Kindergarten education was given for private sector though the government of Ethiopia is striving to open it now. The program was considered as a luxury that has a complex system of implementation. Therefore, thinking that it is impossible to address all children in government effort, private sector is given an opportunity to run the program. But, at present government of Ethiopia now a day recognized the importance of early childhood care and education program; therefore, is expanding it under governmental schools. However, it is not well known whether private KGs are implementing inclusive education or not.

Kindergarten education is still out of control until recent days and it is not clear if the program is accommodating children with special needs particularly children with disability. However, special needs and inclusive education has been practiced among all primary, secondary and tertiary education programs in Ethiopia for the last few decades. There are actual policy documents, strategies and guidelines namely Special Need/Inclusive Education Strategy (2012) and Special Need/Inclusive Education Implementation Guideline (2012) that clearly articulate the importance of inclusive education. Yet, more focus is given for middle and upper level education and as a result of this; private kindergartens are not identified if they are practicing inclusive early childhood care and education or not.

Even most kindergartens acknowledged for providing quality education still have no clear evidence that reflects as they are providing all accessible services for children with diverse needs. Kindergarten education is getting expanded alarmingly across our country in both rural and urban settings even though, there is no insight that shows their availability for disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Practicing inclusive education is to value children with special needs so they can participate equally in all educational activities together with their peers without disabilities.

This study was conducted to investigate the status of early childhood inclusive education in two private kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration. In a much globalized world, all children are expected to get equal access to care, stimulation and education. But it is not clear whether this is practical or not among private kindergartens in most Ethiopian localities. Besides children with special needs/children with disabilities out of kindergartens, it is critical to see whether children with special needs/children with disabilities included in the program are getting accessible care and education or not.

Consequently, the researcher was initiated to conduct this study to see the insight of private kindergartens in the implementation of inclusive early childhood care and education. Therefore; the following basic research questions were posed. As a result, this study has tried to answer the following research questions.

These are;

1. What is the status of implementation of inclusive education in private kindergartens of Tabor Sub-city in Hawassa City Administration?
2. What are the challenges faced in implementing inclusive education on the ground?
3. How do kindergarten teachers, principals and other stakeholders perceive their role in implementation of inclusive education?

1.3. Objectives of the Study

1.3.1. General Objective

The main objective of this study was to investigate the status of implementation of inclusive education in two private kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration. Besides this, the study was aimed at identifying factors hindering effective implementation of inclusive education in the study area.

1.3.2. Specific Objectives

Specifically, this study was aimed to;

1. identify the state of inclusive education practices of private kindergartens.
2. assess factors hindering proper implementation of inclusive education among private kindergartens.
3. examine the appropriateness and accessibility of private kindergartens for children with special needs.
4. explore how kindergarten teachers, principals and other stakeholders view their role in implementation of inclusive education.

1.4.Significance of the Study

Now days, inclusion is getting a matter of quality education that all children are expected to reach their fullest potential throughout their development. This is why quality care and education matters on child's later personality. Understanding nature of inclusive early childhood care and education as well investigating factors that affect implementation of inclusive early childhood care and education were the basic issues addressed in this study. Most kindergartens never accept children with special needs in to their programs and are not well organized so as to provide quality services for all children regardless of diversity. Therefore, this study was;

- believed to promote the right understanding among the two private kindergartens just by creating awareness, promoting good practices and informing some factors hindering proper implementation of inclusive education.
- It may initiates collaboration among teachers and other concerned bodies in the kindergartens selected for this study.
- It also mobilizes all responsible bodies in the sub-city to bring significant change in implementation of inclusion education.
- Other professionals can also use it as a supplementary material for their further study in the area.

1.5. Scope of the Study

Inclusive education in kindergarten context is a new approach. In South Nation, Nationalities and Peoples Region, it was totally forgotten in the past and emerging recently. Inclusive education practices in middle and upper grades were studied by many researchers but there was too little consideration with regard to kindergarten education. Even though the problem is of most kindergartens in Ethiopia, the researcher purposely investigated only two private kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city in Hawassa City Administration. The reason why only two private kindergartens were given priority was that the current status they have in the provision of effective child care services is better than other kindergartens in the sub-city.

The study focused on implementation of inclusive education in two private kindergartens in Tabor sub-city. The centers were Ethio-Parent School and Elroi kindergarten. Therefore, this study was delimited to the centers discussed above. The fundamental dimension of the study was access, participation and supports. Furthermore, it focused on the accessibility (both physical and social accessibility) of the kindergartens for children with disabilities/special needs. In this case, the study was delimited to the investigation of how children with special needs are getting access to welcoming environment, adapted learning and playing materials. It was to see whether both kindergartens accommodate children with disabilities or not.

1.6. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential (DEC/NAEYC, 2009).Theoretically, inclusive education has the origin of human right and attempted to establish just and equitable educational society. It includes wider philosophical assumptions as equity, participation, non-discrimination, social justice which all promotes the human right.

According to Vygotsky's social constructionist view on development and learning, the social situations of development is a source for the development of consciousness. Social play constitutes the source for development and forms the basis for the zone of proximal development and inclusive education is fundamentally developmental. Inclusive learning is to bring about transformation of ZPD and the zone of actual development (Gindis, B. 2003).

Vygotsky approves that a positive approach implies a favorable societal view on children with disabilities, directing the focus point not on weaknesses and disorders, but on the strengthening and empowerment of individual skills. Vygotsky has influenced early years practice, emphasizing the importance of social interactions in child development. Current theoretical and practical conceptualizations in the field of early childhood special education are limited in their attention to the socio-cultural context in which development occurs (Pass, 2004).

According to Gindis, B. (2003), socio-cultural theory emphasizes inclusive classroom practices through stress on the socio-cultural context, the role of social activity including instruction in learning, and the contributions of learners to their own development. Principles for inclusive early childhood practice are explicated based on the concepts of classrooms as communities, learning as socially mediated, curriculum as contextually relevant and problem based, and assessment as authentic and personally meaningful. Vygotsky argued that human development is the process of a child experiences in their social environment. He contended that ‘defects’ should not be perceived as abnormality, but need to be brought in to social context.

Booth, T., Ainscow, M. & Kingston D. (2006) state that a founding principle of inclusion is to give children with special needs equal opportunities to participate fully in every life activities and in kindergarten classroom with non-disabled peers. Inclusion can provide improvement for the quality of education and social life for children with special needs. Inclusive classrooms provide a better experience for the entire class. In any classroom, children learn from their more experienced peers, and those more experienced learn from playing with and teaching others (Gindis, B. 2003).

Early childhood inclusion is all about having children with different backgrounds, interests, needs, capacity to learn and play as well as tendency to explore their environment. The way they come together and interact with others is believed to yield significant change in child development. Enrolling students with disabilities is just the start. Having an inclusive classroom is like having a culturally or socially diverse classroom, according to Snell, M., & Janney, R. (2000). In inclusion, children with different abilities are part of the community and their needs are integrated into the entire program. Bringing young children with special needs in to kindergartens without proper support and intervention does not mean inclusion.

Moreover, social constructivism views each learner as a unique individual with unique needs, interests and backgrounds. According to Vrasidas, (2000), social constructivism acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the learner and at the same time encourages, utilizes and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process. Inclusion principles for inclusive practices further refer to classrooms as communities, where learning is socially mediated, the curriculum is contextually relevant and problem based, and assessment is authentic and meaningful.

In different international and national documents, it is stated that all children regardless of their diversity can learn, develop and survive with all children of the same age hence education, care and stimulation at early age is a human right issue. This study was assumed to stress on the way how private kindergartens are implementing inclusive education. Therefore, it was conducted in light of socio-cultural theory of Lev Vygotsky. This theory is relevant to this study as it stresses the importance of acknowledging that every child is different and has a unique need.

In this study, the Inclusive Classroom Profile (Soukakou, 2010) and the DEC/NAEYC Inclusion Position Paper (2009) were used together as an organizing framework to better conceptualize the multi-faceted issues of early childhood inclusive education, illustrated in the figure below.

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Fig. 1. Conceptual Framework: Crosswalk of ICP items and the DEC/NAEYC position statement

The three main constructs from the DEC/NAEYC Inclusion Position Paper (2009) are access, participation and supports. The items in the figure are practices that have the strongest research base for supporting young children with special needs in inclusive early childhood care and education classrooms (Soukakou, 2010).

They are important elements of inclusive education and one element cannot exist with the absence of the others. Access alone does not give guarantee for inclusion unless children with disabilities are given an opportunity to take part in the activities. Inclusion can be achieved through necessary support provision for the individual child based on the child’s best interest. The researcher placed the items corresponding to the three focus areas namely access, participation and supports which was stated in DEC/NAEYC Inclusion Position Statement (DEC/NAEYC, 2009). This conceptual framework guided the conceptualization of the study, data collection and data analysis.

1.7. Operational Definition of Terminologies

Lists of terminologies defined below are used in this research report.

Children with Special Needs- are children in need of special attention and additional support provision. They are children with disability such as children with physical impairment, sensory impairment, developmental delays and etc.

Disability - is a limitation imposed on children as a result of impairment or loss of any body part that can affect child’s potential in participation in the activities.

Early Intervention - is a process of on time support provision for very young children (aged from three to seven) who have certain kind of disability or special need.

Early Inclusion - is an approach to educating and caring children with special educational needs starting from early years of development.

Inclusion- a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all young children through increased participation in learning, culture and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education.

Kindergarten - is an early childhood educational setting commonly based on playing, singing, storytelling, practical activities such as drawing, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school.

Private Kindergartens - are an early childhood care and education settings owned by private sector like investors and organizations.

Kindergarten Teachers - are individuals assigned as facilitators (service providers) for young children in kindergartens owned by private sector.

Universal Design for Learning - is creating accessible social and physical environment so as to facilitate accessible pedagogy for all young children based on their unique needs and potential.

Zero rejection - a condition in which all children with or without disability are successfully included in the early childhood care and education program.

1.8. Limitation of the Study

Like any other investigators, the researcher faced a lot of challenges during and after data collection. One of the major challenges faced but solved later was unwillingness of the participants during data gathering from the very beginning. Due to lack of awareness about the research, teachers and participants were not interested to give information confidentially. They were not free to give information especially during focus group discussion. The researcher informed them the objective of the study then they provided all the necessary information.

Parents from the two private kindergartens were told to gather in one center and they were not accessible at a time researcher wanted. All of them were extremely busy to attend at any time when required. It was so challenging that their inability to attend timely destructed the researcher to get information as required. The other encounter was children with disability were collected to participate in the focus group discussion nonetheless they were unable to discuss because they were too young to do so. It was highly challenging for the researcher to get information from the children involved in the FGD. But after certain strive, all the problems were solved and information required was collected.

1.9. Organization of the Paper

This report is organized in to six chapters .The first chapter is an introduction, which deals with the background of the study, statement of the problem, scope of the study, significance of the study and definition of terms. Chapter two presents the review of related literature, and the third chapter is about the methodological approaches of the study including the research setting, participant selection and data collection tools, main procedures of the study and method of data analysis. The fourth chapter deals with result of the analysis and interpretation of the data gathered. Chapter five deals about discussion of the main findings using relevant literature and the researchers views under the themes. Lastly, the six chapter focuses on the summary of the study. This chapter also presents the conclusion, and implications of the study.

Chapter Two

2. Review of the Related Literature

2.1. Deflnition of Early Childhood Inclusion

Inclusive early childhood care and education is rapidly increasing as a common and advocated practice in today’s ECCE settings (Cologon, 2014; Odom et al., 2011; Simpson & Warner, 2010; Winter, 2007). It is the right to equal educational and social experiences for all children with and without disability aged birth to six in the same ECCE settings (DEC/NAEYC, 2009). As a philosophical and practical approach, IECCE means children with varying needs and abilities are cared and educated in the same environment (Darragh, 2010).

Moore (2009) and Underwood (2013) stress the active participation of all children in the same IECCE programs and community settings, with engagement and participation in the same activities and routines as their typically developing peers. Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential.

The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports (NAEYC/DEC, 2009).The classroom is seen as a community where diversity is valued and celebrated and all children work, talk, cooperate and share (Booth and Ainscow, 2002). Inclusion requires the removal of barriers to learning for all children regardless of their diverse background. It is all about creating an early years setting with an inclusive culture that accepts diversity as normal and includes all children within a common educational framework.

2.2. Rational for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education

The most stressed arguments for inclusive early childhood care and education are discussed by Smith et al., (2012) as follows. These are;

2.2.1. Human Right & Moral/Ethical Justification

The child’s right is the pivotal argument for IECCE practice (Cologon, 2014, DEC/NAEYC, 2009). The fundamental right to full life and education of children with disability and typically developing peers is experienced in inclusive early childhood care and education (Denier, 2013; Heward, 2013; Moore, 2009). As noted, the UDHR (1948) and Article 23 of the CRC (1989) endorse the right to education and care for all children and provision of special care and support for the education and development of the child with disability.

Children with disabilities are first and foremost children, like other children in ECCE settings (Darragh, 2010). Inclusive early childhood care and education ensures that children with disability participate, learn and thrive together with other children who have varieties of abilities, interests and cultural backgrounds (DEC/NAEYC, 2009). Hence, it is unethical to separate children with disability from inclusive settings that have natural experiences for enhancing learning, playing and developing together for all children.

2.2.2. Brain Development

Brain development and early learning are important for all children. As noted, neuroscience, developmental neurology, neurodevelopment and other brain research indicate that the age from birth to 5 years are critical for brain development of all children, including children with disabilities. The pace of brain development for children with disability is dependent also on the same early stimulation or experience provided by the environment for children without disability (Bowan A, Agboatwalla M, Luby S, Tobery T, Ayers T, and Hoekstra RM. 2012). Similarly, (Winter, 2007) discusses that IECCE can provide stimulating environments to address the impact of early negative experiences on all children’s brain development.

Inclusive early childhood care and education ensures that all children acquire early learning skills that foster future learning and relationships (Driscoll & Nagel, 2005). Through IECCE programs, all children have opportunities for play, hands-on exploration and learning in ECCE settings. Such programs not only enhance children’s ability to learn, but also to work with others, be patient and develop other skills, which are foundational for learning and social interactions in the school and beyond (Gindis B., 2003).

2.2.3. Social Equity and Reducing Early Disadvantage

Inclusive early childhood care and education is advocated as the centerpiece for attaining social equity (Darragh, 2010). IECCE accords all children access and opportunity to benefit from typical settings and experiences. Young children with disability need the same early enriching and stimulating experiences (Allen & Cowdery, 2015). Through IECCE, children with disability gain access to the general early years curriculum, typically developing peers, and more of the typical activities available to the other children. Furthermore, all children are provided equal opportunity to participate in the same curriculum, assessment and teaching practices and materials, and to achieve and succeed within the same nurturing and supportive environment (Darragh, 2010).

2.2.4. Economic Justification

Inclusive early childhood care and education expands the platform for developing human resources by promoting all children, including children with disabilities, with early and equitable access, participation and supports (Booth et al., 2006; DEC/NAEYC, 2009). At any early age, all children can be equally equipped with foundational knowledge, skills and learned abilities for future work and life, to secure the continuity, productivity and regeneration of human resources for society (McCarty, 2006). Moreover, IECCE practice enhances children’s early learning, and skills acquisition and competencies for future employment, and the productivity and growth of society. Early and inclusive preparation of today’s crude human resources can ensure that many and diverse children become participants in the future labor market (WHO, 2011).

2.3.Inclusion in Education

Inclusive education is an approach, to secure the right to education of children by promoting the educational system. The aim of inclusive education is to reduce exclusion in education through ensuring participation of excluded children. It came to international practice with the UNESCO Salamanca Statement and within the few decades since the adoption, and accumulated a positive role in educational policy and has become a global movement. Recently, inclusion in education is recognized as a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society (Norwich, 2013).

There is no single and universally accepted definition of inclusive education because it is viewed from different social and contextual lens. Inclusive education is described basically an ideological shift of international educational discourse that underpins multiple disciplines. Although, inclusive education has been conceptualized in many different ways, the idea of inclusion within the educational framework is frequently attached to the concepts of mainstreaming, diversity management, learning environments, school cultures, inclusive schools, and equal educational opportunities (Westwood, 2013).

On the other hand, disability discourse in education has established the right perspective in education. But, now inclusive education is viewed in deeper connotation and it does not only refer to children with disability, it also includes all children who face some kind of barrier to learning. Booth et al., (2002) argued that, inclusive education is not a special education but the convergence of the need to restructure the public education system to meet the need of a changing society. It is ultimately about transformation of a society and its institutional arrangements.

Similarly, Forlin (2010) viewed inclusive education much broader than simply inviting children with disabilities into mainstream classrooms and mentioned that, it is a means of extending educational opportunities to marginalized children who are still unable to attend school. Stofile (2008) noted that, inclusive education is a paradigm shift that focused on management of student’s deficits through the creation of more inclusive classroom environments that respond constructively to class, poverty, gender, disability, and education for a multi-cultural society.

From this perspective, inclusive education is an innovation of educational development that offers a strategy for promoting effective universal education to ensure the right to education of every child. It is about minimizing exclusion and fostering participation for all children in the culture within a wider framework of support for all children in ordinary schools and concerned both access and equality (Beal & Piron, 2004). As Loreman (2009) stated, increased attendance of children in classroom does not ensure the learning achievement of children because within school too, children may be excluded from learning opportunity.

Therefore, inclusive education is not only concern with the increasing access to school, it also focused to create equal and positive learning environment to every child. Inclusion in education can be understood both social inclusion and physical accessibility of the learning environment. The DEC/NAEYC’s (2009) defines inclusive early childhood care and education in terms of three key features: access, participation, and support, which provides a framework for quality IECCE implementation. Access means provision of broad range of learning opportunities by applying the principles and practices of universal design (UD); like removal of physical and structural barriers to all children’s activities and experiences in inclusive early childhood care and education settings (Chandler et al., 2011; DEC/NAEYC, 2009).

It also involves a proactive approach including barrier-free physical and social environment, instruction based on differentiation, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach (Chandler et al., 2011) and uses multiple means of representation, engagement and expression to ensure that all children have quality inclusive early childhood care and education (Darragh, 2010; Tomlinson, 2014). Access to the same learning environment, including the physical setting, ensures that all children benefit from general education curriculum, materials, activities and routines, teacher- led instruction and experiences, and interactions with peers and adults (DEC/NAEYC, 2009).

Participation occurs when teachers and adults promote a sense of belonging and engagement for all children in inclusive early childhood care and education settings through planned implicit and explicit play and learning activities (DEC/NAEYC, 2009). Briefly, participation is facilitated through the use of instructional and intervention approaches. Most children require specialized and individualized instructional strategies and support to active and meaningful participation in IECCE settings (Buysse & Hollingsworth, 2009).

Mass system-level support is identified as essential to inclusion in ECCE setting. Strong administrative and program support enhances effective IECCE (Chandler et al., 2011; DEC/NAEYC, 2009). System level support includes communication and collaboration opportunities for families, professionals and teachers, and provision of systems are shared philosophy and vision of inclusion, shared instructional approaches, and strategies for teaching and supporting all children. For Booth et al., (2006, P.4), IECCE means reducing the barriers to play, learning and participation of all children; inclusive settings becoming more responsive to diversity of children in the teachers, and putting inclusive values in to action.

2.4. Historical Development of Early Childhood Inclusive Education

2.4.1. Origin and Development of Inclusive Education

Historically, children with disability often experience stigma from birth and are more prone to exclusion, concealment, abandonment, institutionalization and abuse (UNESCO, 2009). Stofile, 2008, discussed two key movements that simulate the origin and development of inclusive education. These are disability movement and disabilities studies that urged refocused to education system and drew attention on discrimination and the barriers to participation experienced by children with disabilities. Second is the social model of disability that played a great role, which finally led continuous debate on education reform. This reform debate has established the foundation of development of inclusive education.

Like disability and educational reform movement, UN international conventions on education also played pivotal role in the development of inclusive education. The term inclusive education has been cited in number of key UN Declaration and Conventions (UNESCO, 2005) that brought international attention to practice inclusive education globally. United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, established education as human right and appealed for free and compulsory elementary education. Similarly, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 ensured the right for all children to receive education without discrimination. It declared that education should be compulsory and available free to all (Peters, 2004).

Although, inclusion has been indirectly advocated since the United Nations Declaration (UN) in 1948, especially it became the prominent only after 1990s. In 1990, the World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) has attempted to address gap between the ideals and reality in education. It has visualized universal access to education and appealed to promote equity to vulnerable and excluded children including girls, the poor, street and working children, rural and remote populations, ethnic minorities, and particularly children with disability. Across the Globe

The present worldwide evolution of inclusive education is, however, attributed to the 1994 Salamanca Statement of Spain developed by representatives of 92 governments and 25 international organizations (Peters S.J., 2004). It is considered as a significant IE milestone, which sanctioned that regular schools should those with special needs with in child-centered pedagogy. It was believed to put ground for the emergence of inclusive education.

John Locke (1632-1704), a seventeenth century English physician and philosopher, was an early contributor to our understanding of the importance of the early childhood care and education for later development. According to his view, what children learn is a direct result of experiences, activities, and sensations; and what children become is determined by the type and quality of experiences they have, especially during their early years. Locke’s belief in the powerful influence of the child’s environment and early experiences is reflected in compensatory education programs for young living in poverty. These compensatory programs are designed to make up for the disadvantages experienced by children living in deprived environments (Agbegna et. al., 2014).

According to Cologon, 2014 another prominent advocate for early childhood inclusive education was Robert Owen (1771-1858). He was concerned about the living and working conditions of the children and their parents. He prohibited very young children from working at all and limited the number of working hours for older children. Believing that the early years represented the best time to influence a child’s development, Owen established an infant school for children between the ages of 3 and 10. These schools were seen as a way of compensating children of poverty for the deprived conditions they experienced at home. His work was based on the premise that poverty could be eliminated by educating and socializing young children from poor families. The establishment of compensatory programs indicated that the belief that early intervention can make a difference in a child’s development and learning was becoming more readily understood and accepted (Cologon, 2014).

Simpson et al., 2010 discusses that in the late 1800s, Montessori was a founder of education and care for young children with disabilities. She observed that educational intervention rather than medication would be a more effective strategy for working with these children. To provide enriching experiences for the children with special needs, Montessori developed an innovative, activity-based sensory education program involving didactic teaching materials.

Inclusive Education is globally accepted as a movement of educational reform in order to establish universally accessible and quality education system that addresses the problems of exclusion in education. In the first year of 21st century, the global community had established expansion of preschool education as a global common agenda and focusing to work together against the exclusion in education (UNESCO, 2014).

As a result, the last decade has enormous progress in expanding access to education worldwide. Despite this progress, 150 million children are still denied the opportunity to learn. This implies that there are a large number of children not being given opportunity to get early care and stimulation. Children with disabilities still remained as most of the neglected and disadvantaged group in education. Around half the world’s out of school population lives in a very low income and conflict-affected countries. This has a big implication for preschool inclusion (UNESCO, 2014). The Ethiopian Context

Historically, kindergarten education in Ethiopia was long recognized in the 17th century by Ethiopian philosophers Zar’a Ya’aqob and his disciple Walda Haywat (Sumner, 1992, in Tirussew et al, 2008). There is little doubt that it was rooted in the traditional Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Pankhurst, 1955, in Tirussew et al., 2008). Moreover, evidences indicate that the significance of early education was recognized as early as Medieval Ethiopia. During that period, male children began attending church services at around age 4.

The curriculum for children of this age consisted primarily of drill and practice of the alphabet (Tekeste N., 1996, in Tirussew T. et al., 2008). The traditional pre-primary priest preschool education remains still to be easily accessible, affordable and main feeder of formal primary education in Ethiopia (Tirussew T., 2005). However, this does not give evidence about the emergence of early childhood inclusive education. The vast majority of parents as well as teachers are still tied-up with the traditional method of parenting which does not give space for diversity and chance for the children to air out their opinion and to be listened to. Children with disabilities were feared and restricted from the activities shared by other age mates without disability.

Along with global community, the government of Ethiopia also committed to ensure universal quality education and adopted principles of inclusion in education to promote overall education system. Despite the various provisions of inclusive education at policy level, many children in Ethiopia still remained out of school, among those who come to school, many children leave school before completing the program and many children suffers from lower learning achievement as well as class repetition.


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Inclusive Education Practice of Two Private Kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration
Addis Ababa University  (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)
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Inclusive Education, Practice, Private Kindergarten
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Dereje Dakamo (Author), 2018, Inclusive Education Practice of Two Private Kindergartens in Tabor Sub-city, Hawassa City Administration, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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