Disability, Diversity and Inclusive Education – a new free online course

FLed4all 2x1 1120x560Millions of children around the world are excluded from access to education because of a disability; join this free online course to find out how inclusive education can work, especially where resources are limited.

Education for All is a six week long course beginning on 4 April 2016. It aims to explores how inclusive education can address barriers to learning and participation, and transform school communities. The course is offered by the University of Cape Town on the attractive FutureLearn platform, and is led by lecturers Judith McKenzie and Chioma Ohajunwa.

The course outline is:
● Week 1 – Why inclusion?
● Week 2 – Education begins at home
● Week 3 – Creating an inclusive school
● Week 4 – Partnerships for success
● Week 5 – Changing classroom practices
● Week 6 – Building networks

The course is aimed at teachers, other professionals and parents interested in developing inclusive education. It requires 3 hours of study time per week, a total of 18 hours overall. The course is free to study, and if required a Statement of Participation is available at £34.

Enrol free here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/education-for-all

If you are interested in children with disabilities you might also like to take a look at The Center for Parent Information and Resources – a resource library for families of children with disabilities which I previously reviewed.

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Free e-book: Transforming the workforce for young children

19401-0309324858-450Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 explores the science of child development, particularly looking at implications for the professionals who work with children.

The National Academies Press in Washington publish more than 200 textbooks a year on a wide range of topics including Children, Youth and Families. This 2015 book edited by LaRue Allen and Bridget B. Kelly explores the science of child development, particularly looking at implications for the professionals who work with children. It examines the current capacities and practices of the workforce, the settings in which they work, the policies and infrastructure that set qualifications and provide professional learning, and the government agencies and other funders who support and oversee these systems.

The 700-pages book is illustrated with up-to-date colour and black-and-white diagrams and is divided into five parts:

I: Introduction and Context
II: The Science of Child Development and Early Learning
III: Implications of the Science for Early Care and Education
IV: Developing the Care and Education Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8
V: Blueprint for Action

Part II: The Science of Child Development and Early Learning, is practically a book-within-a-book at 160 pages long, and is an interesting and informative read for all members of the young children’s workforce.

We are fortunate to be able to download the PDF version of this title for free; the hard-cover version costs $75. To download a free PDF of Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8, go to:

http://www.nap.edu/catalog/19401/transforming-the-workforce-for-children-birth-through-age-8-a

Next click Download Free PDF, then Download as Guest, where you just need to enter an email address to download any of NAP’s titles. This one is an 11MB download, or you can download chapters individually.

A short 16-pages booklet is also available as a companion to the full book. Professional Learning for the Care and Education Workforce (2015) summarizes considerations from the report for planning and implementing high-quality and coherent professional learning for this workforce.
You can download a free PDF of the booklet at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21786/professional-learning-for-the-care-and-education-workforce

UK Children’s Commissioners

4xCC collageEach of the four UK Children’s Commissioners are active on social media, making it easy to follow what they are thinking and doing.

Many countries have a Children’s Ombudsman responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). An Ombudsman may also be referred to as a Child Advocate, or, as in the UK, as a Children’s Commissioner. The UK has four Commissioners, one each for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I find it valuable to follow them on social media as they provide a well-informed perspective on current issues affecting children. Here are the four individual UK Commissioners.

Anne Longfield OBE became the Children’s Commissioner for England in March 2015. Prior to this, Anne was chief executive of 4Children – a national charity which works to support children, young people and families. Anne can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk
Facebook: officeofthechildrenscommissioner
Twitter: @annelongfield (individual) & @ChildrensComm (official). The official account is busier and has many more followers.

Tam Baillie has been Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People since May 2009. Tam had previously been Director of Policy for Barnardo’s from 2003 to 2009, following 25 years experience as a practitioner and as a manager of services for children and young people and their families. Tam can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.sccyp.org.uk
Facebook: RightsSCCYP
Twitter: @CYPCS
Online newsletter: www.cypcs.org.uk/news/newsletter
Many of Tam’s speeches and presentations are freely available as PDFs from www.cypcs.org.uk/about/speeches

Dr. Sally Holland became the Children’s Commissioner for Wales in April 2015. Sally was previously an academic at Cardiff University specialising in family and child welfare, and was Director of the Cascade children’s social research centre at the University. Sally can be followed through these channels:
Website: www.childcomwales.org.uk
Twitter: @childcomwales (English language) and @complantcymru (Welsh language)
Blog: www.childcomwales.org.uk/en/sallys-blog/

Koulla Yiasouma became the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People in February 2015. Koulla had previously been director of Include Youth, a post she held for 16 years, working tirelessly to improve the experiences of and outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people throughout Northern Ireland. Koulla can be followed through these channels:
Website: http://www.niccy.org/
Facebook: nichildrenscommissioner
Twitter: @nichildcom (official) and @ShriekingGreek  (individual & informal)
Blog: www.niccy.org/about-us/the-commissioner/commissioners-blog/

jVVtJFqxThe four UK Children’s Commissioners mostly act through their individual offices, but earlier this year the four UK Children’s Commissioners published a joint report which scrutinises the UK and devolved government’s record on children’s rights over the last seven years. It identifies areas of common concern drawn across the four nations; they include the state of mental health services, child sexual abuse, children in the justice system, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and repealing the Human Rights Act. You can find the report at each of the Commissioners websites, e.g ‘Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners – UN Committee on the Rights of the Child