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Research & Resources

Inclusion and LRE for young children has support from many different sources.  High quality inclusion in early childhood leads to social and education benefits for each and every child.

OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on Preschool Least Restrictive Environments (LRE) January 9, 2017           The Dear Colleague letter (DCL) published by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) reaffirms the U.S. Department of Education's position that "all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs where they are provided with individualized and appropriate supports to enable them to meet high expectations"

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a policy statement on inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality inclusive early childhood programs on September 14, 2015. An executive summary is also available.

Policy statement

Executive summary

A few specific sources of research that we find most helpful are:  Preschool Inclusion-Key Findings from Research and Implications for Policy.                                                                                                                      This brief builds on the research review and policy recommendations in the HHS/DOE policy statement.  It highlights research relevant to three questions, outlined below:

  • What are the effects of inclusive preschool on children's early learning and development?
  • What is known about the quality of inclusive preschool programs?
  • What is known about how to improve the quality of inclusive preschool?

Research shows that children with disabilities who attend preschool in inclusive environments demonstrate gains in social skills, self-regulation, language development, and cognition. Learn More »

Resources are available to help you better understand, plan for and implement inclusion in the early childhood classroom.  We have resources from Illinois that include guidance documents from the Illinois State Board of Education.  Learn More »

We have resources from other states who are working to increase inclusive options for young children. Learn More »

Leading early childhood organizations such as National Association for the Education of Young Children, Division of Early Childhood, Head Start and others have policy statements and resources that support as we plan for inclusive education. Learn More »