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Abstract

Provides an inside look into what the Australian government calls “inclusive learning communities.” This term emerges from a national early-years learning framework that highlights ability and disability as diversity. Following the course of a six-month period in three “inclusive” early childhood classrooms, Karen offers an account of the transformative potential of inclusion in contrast to the harmful effects of teaching tolerance. Tolerance, as Karen’s study reveals, preserves the dualism of normal versus abnormal (or Other) and hinders critical reflection about ableist assumptions.

Author Biography

Karen Watson is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Her many years of experience in teaching in the early childhood classroom, and in early intervention, as a special education consultant, inspired her PhD research into inclusive practices. She is interested in how young children in the inclusive classroom actively negotiate inclusive and exclusive processes.

 

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