Applications are due September 12:
ABOUT THE INCLUSION ACADEMY
"They aren't ready for us" is something we hear often. This opportunity is about changing that.
OUR GOAL: Give you the information you need to support and advocate for young children AND a structure to practice and pursue disability activism.
OUR PHILOSOPHY: Disability is a type of diversity, and whether children with disabilities or developmental delay reach their potential is linked to how society responds to and nurtures them. So let's change society.
The Inclusion Academy is grounded in the science of early childhood development and the legal and research basis for inclusive learning. It is a Best Starts for Kids Innovation Fund pilot and a portfolio project of Frontiers of Innovation, the research and development arm of Harvard's Center on the Developing Child.
WHO SHOULD APPLY: Parents (and allies!) of young children ages 2 to 5 navigating early child care, preschool, and kindergarten transitions. While we will absolutely cover material that you can apply to your child/situation, the academy is fundamentally about shifting systems to be inclusive.
CLASS TOPICS: The developing brain and what children need to thrive; disability is diversity; the case for inclusion; barriers; your child's rights; access and the local early learning landscape; defining quality; Universal Design for Learning and next gen teaching; how change happens; and more! This time, we're leaving space to let the cohort define areas of interest.
ADVOCACY SKILLS: Listening, analysis, communications; vision planning; policy development; data mining; collaboration; community building, and other skills the cohort identifies as priorities.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Collaborative learning through presentations, small group discussion, independent reflection, and resource sharing, paired with skill building and support to advocate within your community. Once the class lineup concludes, we will support inclusion projects, host continued learning opportunities, and create space for a community of advocates.
TIME COMMITMENT: Six to nine months. The first three to four will be focused on regular classes. Some will occur live (via Zoom), others will involve independent study. You should plan on two hours a week from late September into mid-January, with a break over the winter holidays. After that depends on how you want to apply your learning. We anticipate Saturday classes alternating with some independent study, but will finalize the schedule based on the interest and availability of applicants. All live video conferences will be taped and available via private website
Once classes conclude, we will support you with community projects that promote inclusive early learning or disability equity.
COST: This class is free, thanks to a grant from King County's Best Starts for Kids. Participants will also get a small stipend to help offset costs related to their community projects.
LOCATION: Classes will be held online using Zoom video conferencing as well as a private website where materials will be compiled and where participants can share with each other in a closed setting. Live meetings will be recorded for participants to access later.
CAN I APPLY IF MY CHILDREN AREN'T AGE 2-5? Absolutely. Parents with children slightly younger or older will benefit from classes and advocacy skills development. But the focus will be on early development for children ages 2 to 5.
DO I HAVE TO BE A PARENT? No! Professionals, other family, and other allies are welcome to apply.
QUESTIONS? Please contact Bridget Nickol, early learning initiatives coordinator at The Arc of King County, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-829-7016.