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Inclusion is about treating others in the same way we would like to be treated and knowing how to see that, although we seem different, we are all the same. It is something that should be worked on at school and also at home. I often wonder how children can be taught to be inclusive, because I am convinced that inclusion - although it must also be done at school - begins at home. And after reflecting on the education in values that I give my children, these are the conclusions I have reached and how I have put them into operation.
I'm sure what I'm going to tell you here you already know very well. Inclusion, a name that comes to replace the concept of integration, is a theoretical term that refers to how the school should respond to diversity. And that's where we say that the school has a lot to say and do about it, but at home, we as parents, we also have to work on it.
According to the definition given by UNESCO: 'Inclusion is an approach that responds positively to the diversity of people and to individual differences, understanding that diversity is not a problem, but rather an opportunity for the enrichment of society '. We see, then, that the differences between one and the other do not have to be something negative, on the contrary; if given the right approach, they can be very enriching and positive for everyone. Of course, for this to be the case, all of us, parents, teachers and children, must work as a team to achieve this goal.
The theory is clear, now it remains to put it into practice. Inclusion begins at home and that's how I show it to my children.
In my son's class a child who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He spends a few hours of the day in class with the rest of his classmates and another hours he goes to a special classroom. The teachers said that something had to be done to make the students see this as something normal so they had the best of ideas, telling the children to choose the name for the TEA classroom. Without a doubt a small detail that helped them see the importance of inclusion without ever saying the word 'inclusion'.
[Read +: A play to talk with children about autism]
When my son told me this, I started to think about how we could teach him to be inclusive from home. He may be too young to tell you that inclusion is this and that, but he is more than capable of knowing that all children are the same.
1. Treat others the way you want them to treat you
That was my first lesson and therefore the first advice I share with you. Children are different and at the same time the same. There are those who can read perfectly and there are those who will always have a hard time doing it well. There are children who have difficulty walking or speaking properly. There are those who relate to others in a 'strange' way and yet all of them want to play, laugh, be happy and feel loved. 'Treat others as you want them to treat you', was what I said to my son, so he would know that, no matter how different we may seem to be from each other, respect and affection must be above all.
2. Collaboration, participation and cooperation
Collaboration with others so that everyone feels that they are part of the group, participation in activities inside and outside of school and cooperation so that these 'special' children enjoy as others do. If you think your child is not yet ready to understand these concepts well, do like me, read a story together about inclusion.
3. Teach your children to be inclusive by example
Children, from birth, learn almost all things by imitation of parents and siblings. So what better way to teach them to be inclusive than to lead by example? Our children will accept diversity, understand others and make them feel that they 'are part of' if we do too.
4. Individuality is a good thing
Another great way to teach children to be inclusive is to have them see what personal characteristics make us unique, whether it be beliefs, aspects of personality or physical limitations. Now it only remains to know that the individual characteristics of the most are just as valuable and respectable as ours.
5. Do not be guided by what others do
Tell your child that he should not be guided by what others are doing if he sees that they are things that are not right. Or what is the same, respect, respect and more respect. There is a phrase that I sometimes say to my son, and that I will also tell my daughter when she goes to school, which is that if someone interferes with or discriminates against another child, he should not do the same.
Sometimes children want to follow the game of others for the mere fact of feeling part of the group, so if several children discriminate or make fun of another, the rest can join in the teasing without even thinking about what they do harm who receives them. Inclusion begins at home and cannot be learned properly if we put aside such basic concepts as values education.
And you? How do you teach your children to be inclusive with all children?
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