Saturday, June 14, 2014

Primary School Inclusion: The Nuts and Bolts #2

A Flexible System with Creative Solutions

There is no one ingredient for success when it comes to inclusion, but I've noticed that inclusion is an authentic reality at Pinelands North Primary School because system itself is inclusive and flexible.

This is what I have observed at Matt's school (though I am not sure how it all works yet):
There is a system, it is not just chaos. Yet the system somehow has an in-built flexibility that means that there is a LOT of room for adaptation when it comes to each child's needs. The leadership of the school has created a system that doesn't require each child (or teacher or parent) to be the same or to function with uniformity. You'd think this would lead to anarchy, but it doesn't. Rather there is a strong sense of flow and unity. This flexibility seems to allow for the creation of unique solutions of support to children, and it allows for these to be tried and implemented without too much stress to any part of the system or on any person.

Now you might think talking about systems is rather boring. But I have come to understand that the system - the way things are run, the rules, the expectations - can almost become a being unto itself , a monstrous machine, which can actually squash individual good intentions as well as tangible action steps towards inclusion.

I have seen that the value of inclusion is not just added onto the system of the school but rather the value of inclusion has been intentionally built into the system itself. Now how that took place, and what steps are needed to make it happen in another school, that you will have to ask Ann Morton, the principal of Pinelands North Primary School. I hope to hear the story of this one day, because I am sure it is fascinating. But for now I have come appreciate this school system that really doesn't see my precious Matt as an "add-on" but works towards his integration as much as every child who attends the school.

Blog posts in this series:
Introduction - for more on why I am doing this series on how inclusion can work in real life
# 1 Leadership with Vision
# 2 Learning Support Co-ordinator
# 4 The Facilitator
# 5 The Classroom

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