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Every child is unique, and many young students need special approach in teaching. Today the society pays significant attention to adjustment of the educational system to the requirements of children who have peculiar psychological, physical and learning abilities.
DEC, the Division for Early Childhood, is the division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). The effort of the Council is directed at students who have exceptional learning needs or exceptional talents. CEC works in several dimensions, such as governmental policies, professional education and training, and development of professional standards.
The specialization of the Division for Early Childhood is contribution to the effective organization and adjustment of the learning process for children with special needs from their birth to age eight, as well as informational and professional support for their families (About DEC).
DEC conducts its operation in several directions (DEC Strategic Plan):
- development and implementation of governmental policies for teaching children with special needs;
- professional development and training of the specialists involved into education of children under 8 with disabilities or at their risk;
- contribution to positive outcome for the children and their families;
- providing membership opportunities for individuals willing to advance education for children with special needs.
Chosen Disposition and Practices
DEC’s statement papers outline the organization’s position and actions in different fields of its operation. The statement papers reflect the organization’s view of the given issues and provides the practical guidelines developed by its members. Two directions chosen by me are Promoting Positive Outcomes and Prevention of Disabilities/Promotion of Health.
Promoting Positive Outcomes
Within this paper, DEC focuses its effort on three components of the educational process: curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. These factors are crucial for children’s effective learning and positive outcomes for them, which requires particular attention of the workforce involved into education of students with special needs.
However, according to the study of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists (NAECS), for a long time curriculum, assessment and program evaluation were not of the needed quality, which led to the necessity of developing a document aimed at making this quality consistently high (Promoting Positive Outcomes).
Based on such principles as equity, ethical attitude towards children with special needs, respect for their abilities and specific features, DEC has developed the guidelines in the three major directions: Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation. Considering my experience of teaching and lesson observation, I am especially interested in the part devoted to curriculum adaptation.
Teaching students with disabilities requires an accessible curriculum, which means that its goals, methods and content must be compatible with their psychological and physical needs. The paper highlights the ways to adjust assignments, activities, the way of explaining the new information and conducting individual and team work in a classroom that contains children with disabilities.
This information is extremely valuable for all teachers, including those working in general education classes, as it provides them with the means of effective curriculum adjustment. Flexibility in curriculum development and curriculum implementation is what every teacher must possess in order to be an effective educator for his/her class.
Prevention of Disabilities/Promotion of Health
Health is one’s most valuable “property”, a fundament of an individual’s happy life, that is why health care is one of the priority fields of a state’s activity.
This field is of big significance for the whole nation: in case we have the chance to help children (who are our relatives and students, society members and future professionals) elude physical disability and other challenges connected with health, we should put strong effort into this initiative. Promotion of health and prevention of disabilities is one of the directions of DEC’s efforts.
In addition, research corroborates the idea that disability prevention is a cost-effective action (Prevention and Promotion). DEC contributes to disability prevention and health promotion by means of research, development of programs, trainings and guidelines, supporting families in decision-making regarding children’s health.
The organization also promotes information connected with early childhood health and works on public regulations and policies in the given field.
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About DEC. (n.d.). The Division for Early Childhood. Web.
DEC Strategic Plan. (n.d.). The Division for Early Childhood. Web.
Prevention and Promotion. (n.d.). The Division for Early Childhood. Web.
Promoting Positive Outcomes. (n.d.). The Division for Early Childhood. Web.