PreSchool Children Playing with a parachute

Back in April 2009, the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) adopted and published a Joint Position Statement of Early Childhood Inclusion. This significant document for our field not only provides a collaborative unified definition on inclusion, the document serves as a blueprint identifying key components of high quality inclusive programs through access, participation and supports. Additionally, the document offers recommendations on its use with families, practitioners and policy makers in the field to improve services for young children with disabilities and those who support them.  This joint Position Statement is an about face to previous educational practices of the separation and isolation of children with disabilities. It reflects societal values that young children with disabilities and their families are full members of the community and stimulating opportunities for development, learning, and a sense of belonging for every child. 

The following considerations are offered in conjunction with the Position Statement to improve early childhood services in your community:

High expectations for all children require careful consideration of these areas:



The following resources and websites contain information related to Universal Design for Learning in Early Childhood       

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  • Assistive Technology for Young Children      
  • Cara’s Kit: This resource provides adaptations for everyday routines and activities for preschool students who have disabilities.
  • Cara’s Kit for Toddlers: This resource provides adaptations for everyday routines and activities for toddlers who have disabilities.



  • CONNECT Modules: This website hosts a variety of modules directly related to early childhood. Module 7 is about Tiered Instruction, while Module 1’s topic is embedded intervention. Both topics provide information about how to meet differing needs in a preschool classroom.

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  • Sensory Integration and Self Regulation in Infants and Toddlers. Knowledge from the fields of OT, neuroscience, child development, psychology, psychiatry, education, and the movement sciences is synthesized and integrated to help readers understand sensory development, intervention, and approaches.
  • I Know What's Next: A book all about transition times, how to make them fun and easy, and how to avoid tensions and challenging behaviors
  • The Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom:  A book that assists in adapting learning centers to meet the needs of all students.



  • ECTA Center: This website houses many easy-to-use DEC Recommended Practices resources including a checklist and practice guides.
  • Frank Porter Graham: This is the website of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at Chapel Hill. It contains many useful resources for teachers and administrators. 
  • Preschool Inclusion Finance Toolkit
  • Family Engagement:   This website provides support for families and teachers with a large topical index from which to choose information.
  • CONNECT Modules: This website hosts a variety of modules directly related to early childhood. Module 3 is titled Communication for Collaboration, while Module 4 is about Family-Professional Partnerships.

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  • The Thinking Teacher:  This book provides a wealth of information about how to be an intentional teacher, support student needs, and build relationships with families.


       Find a variety of early-childhood-focused webinars at these websites

Every staff, faculty, administrator and or practitioner should operate under the same set of assumptions, values, and beliefs about the most effective ways to support infants and young children with disabilities and their families.


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ReDiscovering MAPS: Charting Your Journey (Vision, Focus, Action). An updated video on the MAPS process.


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Don’t We Already Do Inclusion? 100 Ideas for Improving Inclusive Schools: a great resource for schools, school districts, classroom and communities highlighting one idea at a time.


The Leadership in Effective And Developmentally-appropriate Services in ECSE (LEADS) website provides consistent information to empower local leaders to build capacity and provide high-quality programs for young children with IEPs, 2 through 5 years of age.

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center website houses resources to assist localities and programs looking to improve their systems, practices, and outcomes for young children. 

Supporting Participation for All... Essential Features of High-Quality Inclusion.  This webinar identifies supports as the third feature of high-quality early childhood inclusion.

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This how-to resource offers problem-solving tips, evidence-based practices, practical checklists, along with 100+ PowerPoint slides to structure professional development activities.


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A monograph series highlighting practices that result in better outcomes for young children with disabilities and those who support them.


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This resource combines the latest research with the nuts and bolts of program development, assisting current and future early childhood leaders assemble highly effective inclusion teams and develop programs where every child thrives and learns.

Stay abreast of current trends, new research and evidence-based practices through continuing professional development.

Websites to assist with updating Program & Professional Standards:

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center for improving systems, practices and outcomes has Recommended Practices (RP) performance checklists to assist practitioners and administrators increase their understanding of DEC Recommended Practices and for self-evaluation of one’s use of the practices.

The ECTA Center has available a print-friendly edition of the System Framework to assist you in building and sustaining high-quality early intervention and preschool special education services. 

2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book State Trends in Child Well-Being; by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KID’S COUNT Project.

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) 2016 State of Preschool Yearbook.

Family Engagement: Proven interventions, promising practices and strategies from the Office of Head Start's National Center on Parent, Family, & Community Engagement. (NCPFCE).

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Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals. A resource, from Virginia’s Early Childhood Development Alignment Project, intended to support improvement of quality in programs for young children by clearly articulation recommended practices for adults who are supporting them, birth through kindergarten.

Special Quest Multimedia Training Library: DVD/CD Edition with Quick Start Guide.  The collection is designed for use with early care and educational providers in multiple professional development settings supporting the inclusion of young children birth through five and their families. Scripts, video viewing guides, and supporting documents are included within the collection.

DEC Recommended Practices: Enhancing Services for Young Children with Disabilities and Their Families.  A monograph series aiming to bridge the gap between research and practice by highlighting those practices that result in better outcomes for young children with disabilities. This resource provides various scenarios on how to implement practices in home, community, programs and schools supporting young children with disabilities, their families, and the personnel who serve them.

Barton, E.E. & Smith, B.J. (2015). The preschool inclusion toolbox: How to build and lead a high-quality program. This how-to resource provides the big-picture, systems-level change process for administrators, school district leaders, childcare directors, and faculty. A comprehensive toolbox of problem-solving tips, evidence-based practices, practical checklists and handouts along with 100+ PowerPoint slides to structure professional development activities.

Biddle, J. K. (2012). The three Rs of leadership. Drawing on 30+ years of working in and with shools, the author redefines the Three Rs of Leadership. Biddle explores the three Rs of Leadership-relationships, reciprocal learning, and reflection- in the context of developmentally appropriate programs that promote and support meaningful learning.

Taylor, J. M. McGowan, J.R., & Linder, T. (2009). The program administrator’s guide to early childhood special education: Leadership, development, & supervision. 

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In Virginia, Early Childhood Special Education (Part B of IDEA) and Early Intervention (Part C of IDEA) provide services for children from birth to kindergarten age who qualify according to state and federal law. Localities across the state have services available for children who are eligible and their families.


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Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services are provided by local school divisions and supported by regional Training and Technical Assistance Centers (T/TAC).



Transition between early intervention to early childhood special education is an important event and the process ought to be smooth, seamless, and timely.

Partnership for People with Disabilities


Resources to support your work in improving the quality education of ALL young children and their families in Virginia.


Leadership in Effective and Developmentally- appropriate Services in Virginia ECSE (LEADS) offers additional resources to Virginia’s ECSE leaders responsible for administrative oversight of local programs.

The school-ready child is one who is communicative, confident, curious, creative, cooperative, empathetic, persistent, self-controlled, and a problem solver according to Zero-to-Three (2013, Infographic Advocacy Tool).  Learning these skills and honing these attributes begins at birth, not the year or two before a child enters a preschool or kindergarten program.



Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)

Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI)

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Zero to Three Social and Emotional Development


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MySELF: Social and Emotional Learning Foundations, a curriculum kit to build social-emotional intelligence and literacy skills through shared readings.


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Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum, focuses on fostering children’s play as they master motor development, learn language and social skills, think creatively and make cognitive leaps.


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Addressing Young Children’s Challenging Behaviors (Young Exceptional Children Monograph Series No.15). Evidence-based articles and discussions of developmentally appropriate innovations in addressing the needs of young children with challenging behaviors.

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The Foundation Blocks for Early Learning
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National Association for the Education of Young Children
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Developmental Milestones