Being a leader of a program that creates inclusive environments means you set the tone for the entire program. Beyond being aware of regulations and laws pertaining to working with individuals with disabilities, leaders should:

• Create a culture of belonging for all caregivers, family members, and children.
• Establish strong partnerships with families, service providers, early intervention agencies, etc.
• Develop policies, mission statements, and practices that support inclusion, collaboration, and shared decision making.
• Provide resources necessary to deliver a developmentally appropriate and inclusive environment.
• Provide professional development opportunities related to supporting children with special needs and creating inclusive environments.
• Coach and support employees in their efforts to implement recommended practices.
• Support children, families, and teachers during the transition into a new program.
• Ensure the timely exchange of information as children transition and adjust to new programs.
• Participate in professional associations and organizations that promote current best practices in ECE.
• Collaborate on the local, state, and national levels to advocate for the needs of all children.
• Evaluate practices for effectiveness and make adjustments to policies as needed.

Adapted from DEC Recommended Practices: 04/14/2014

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