More Than an Event: Extending the Learning National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute Report Petra Kern, Ph.D., MT-BC, MTA, DMtG University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky
Over 570 participants from 40 states and 3 countries gathered at the sold-out 2016 Early Childhood Inclusion Institute from May 10-12, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. “This is the biggest event for early childhood inclusion in the world that might aﬀect the lives of children across countries,” said Dr. Samuel Odom, Director of UNC’s FPG Child Development Institute during the opening plenary. Institute Chair Dr. Tracy West and Dr. Pam Winton (Institute Chair Emerita) welcomed professional development providers, practitioners, families, local and state administrators, and policy makers who eagerly heard diﬀerent voices, perspectives and ideas on inclusion presented in a powerful keynote address and engaging plenary, concurrent, and reflection sessions. In their keynote address “Implementing Science and Family Experiences: Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” Dr. Allison Metz and Dr. Anne Turnbull noted that despite positive scientific outcomes, inclusion practice is not as widely implemented in the U.S. as it should be. The presenters recognized that putting research into eﬀective practice requires a systematic approach of support following four specific stages of implementation: a)
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Exploration (i.e., form team; develop ways of work; establish a communication protocol), b) Installation (i.e., develop team competence; assure resources to support practice), c) Initial Implementation (i.e., troubleshoot and problem solve; use data at each team meeting to promote improvement), and d) Full Implementation (i.e., use improvement cycles; develop test enhancements). Reflecting on research outcomes, historical aspects, and family perspectives, the speakers concluded that besides the involvement of various key stakeholders involved in each of the four stages, a parental voice is crucial in providing a more robust and sustainable change in building partnerships for inclusion. Moderated by Dr. Pam Winton, the first plenary session featured federal early childhood leaders Amanda Bryans, Libby Doggett, and Ruth Ryder. The panelists shared information on three recently released polices: U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services And U.S. Department of Education Policy Statement On Inclusion of Children With Disabilities In Early Childhood Programs U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services And U.S. Department of Education Policy Statement On Expulsion And Suspension Policies In Early Childhood Settings U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services And U.S. Department of Education Policy Statement On Family Engagement From The Early Years To The Early Grades. While referring to additional policy letters and memos released by the Oﬃce of Special Education Programs (e.g., RTI Policy Letter; Preschool LRE Policy Letter), the panelists invited participants to ask questions and share perspectives on implementing inclusive practices at the local and state level.
In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....