The juxtaposition of inclusion and quality in early childhood education
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Recent research has indicated that child development centers rated as high quality are more likely to enroll children with disabilities (Baker-Ericzén, Mueggenborg, & Shea, 2009). Yet many of the standards and assessments used to determine the quality of a center do not assess inclusive practices. With this in mind, the purpose of this study was to investigate the families of three children with mild to moderate disabilities and the high quality early childhood development center the children attend as they define and navigate the meanings and interactions involved in inclusion. Taking a Bronfenbrenner ecological perspective to early childhood education (ECE) and inclusion (Odom, et al., 2004), I conducted interviews to explore how members’ within the micro and macro systems of the child’s classroom and family life have made meanings of their experiences with inclusion and quality child care. Further, I completed interviews with teachers’ and administrators’ to explore how their definitions of quality in care related to those of the families. Finally, standards in high quality care, specifically the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) position statement from National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and NAEYC accreditation were considered as an influence on early childhood settings (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009; NAEYC, 2009).