In this season of Advent, the Program for Inclusive Education (PIE) is grateful to be among an amazing network of advocates for inclusion in Catholic schools. This week we celebrate our mission and begin today, December 2, with a Day of Prayer for Inclusion.
December 5-9 is Inclusive Schools Week, and we invite you to join us in celebrating ALL students and their God-given potential. In support of this mission, PIE offers the following encouragement and strategies—one for each day of the week to support your classroom and school in encouraging a more inclusive space this Advent season.
Monday: Inclusion and Hope
Inclusion is working in Catholic schools across the nation. More and more Catholic schools are opening their doors to diverse learners, giving families new hope. The National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion shares many examples of this hope as we work to bring inclusive practice to all Catholic schools. Pope Francis reminds us that “an education in the fullness of humanity should be the defining feature of Catholic schools.” Inclusion is possible in your Catholic school!
Tuesday: Celebrate the Gifts of a Diverse Classroom
Highlight the strengths of learning differently and demonstrate how each student is not the same with this brief interactive activity. Grab a few items from the Lost & Found of varying colors, sizes, and fabrics. Have a few students try on the different items. Take time to highlight the strengths of their choices, yet notice their differences in fit. This visual demonstrates that students are not all the same and their differences make the classroom beautiful. This is the tone in an inclusive classroom—all students are welcome and celebrated for their gifts, although instruction may look differently. It’s differentiated based on the gifts the students share. One size certainly does not fit all!
Wednesday: Building a Culture of Inclusion
Building a climate of inclusion is intentional. When a classroom feels unwelcoming and students feel isolated on the peripheral, behaviors emerge to obtain the much needed peer attention and acceptance. In order to facilitate an acceptable and healthy display of attention, implement positive peer reporting. This intervention is easy and effective and will cultivate a climate of positive support and inclusion.
Thursday: Improving Executive Functions
Make time management and organization easier with visuals. Students with executive functioning challenges benefit from interventions: visual schedules for the day, graphic organizers, checklists, timers, and color-coded folders. Be sure to teach your students how to use these tools. Being proactive and teaching up front will save everyone time in the long run.
Friday: Multisensory Instruction
Multisensory instruction is an effective way to meet the needs of all learners, especially those who are struggling. When lesson planning, be intentional about how you can get the content from the paper into the hands, ears, and eyes or your students. Multisensory instruction provides multiple ways to make connections and learn concepts.
The Program for Inclusive Education is honored to unite with others on this necessary mission of inclusion in Catholic schools. Actively join us in these efforts to Welcome, Serve, and Celebrate ALL students.
Interested in learning more about PIE and its mission to support educators and schools in their journey to include diverse learners? Apply, nominate an inclusive educator, or join our email list today!