Early childhood teachers’ perspectives of inclusive education in New Zealand

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Singh, Pratika
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Applied Practice
Unitec Institute of Technology
Perkins, Maureen
Reinders, Hayo
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
special education teachers
special education
inclusive education
early childhood curriculum
Te Whāriki
children with special needs
Singh, P. (2019). Early childhood teachers’ perspectives of inclusive education in New Zealand (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Practice). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4808
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What does inclusive education means to New Zealand early childhood teachers? 2. What are the challenges faced by New Zealand early childhood teachers while providing inclusive education? 3. What are strategies used by New Zealand early childhood teachers for providing an inclusive environment? ABSTRACT: This research examined early childhood teachers’ perspectives of inclusive education in New Zealand from an internet survey of a small group of teachers. The research literature review focuses on the description of inclusive education in New Zealand in early childhood, following general description of policies supporting inclusion in early childhood. According to the literature review there are many challenges and strategies that have been encountered in providing an inclusive education. Consequently, it can be considered thought-provoking to determine and comprehend our knowledge of how early childhood teachers find inclusive education in practice. A interpretative qualitative approach methodology was employed for this research. The process included an internet survey questionnaire that had been sent out to early childhood teachers of one of the biggest early childhood organisations. Interview and focus group were excluded from the research due to sensitivity of the topic and the mobility and closeness of the early childhood sector, having in mind the connections and that everyone has been acquainted with one another. The findings indicated that there is not one common definition of inclusive education, respectively; different teachers have different understanding of it. Even though all the teachers were qualified, most of them still showed a great level of commitment with the goal to upgrade their knowledge to support inclusion. Teachers have mentioned the strategies they have already used and strategies they think can make inclusion more successful. Teachers have experienced numerous challenges and have tried different strategies to overcome the challenges; however, there are expectations and changes that they think will further support inclusive education. They have shown respect for children with special needs and their extended community and, hence, included the parents in supporting their children’s development delays. It can be concluded that the teachers have been working effectively in providing successful inclusive education. However, the quantitative survey approach was one of the limitations of this research that might have not provided an entirely realistic picture of teacher’s perceptions and feelings.
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