Early Childhood teachers' knowledge of teaching children with disabilities
Australian Early Childhood Association.
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education / Fogarty Learning Centre
In recent years an educational practice has been to increasingly promote the inclusion of students with disabilities into mainstream schools. This trend relies on early childhood teachers utilising their knowledge and skills to successfully induct children with disabilities into the education system. This paper describes early childhood teachers" knowledge of children with disabilities, focusing on their sources of knowledge and experiences in teaching children with disabilities in mainstream settings. Utilising qualitative methodology the study disclosed common factors teachers considered crucial to effective inclusion, including sources and farms of knowledge, teachers' attitudes and expectations, types of support and changes in teaching practices. In addition, the process of inclusion caused early childhood teachers to question their self-efficacy and the adequacy of their practical teaching knowledge.