The imperative of inclusive education in early years is a basic principle in all declarations and initiatives for children’s rights. Though there is a progress towards this, there are still too many young children that are excluded from pre-school. According to the UNESCO (2021) “early childhood services aim to provide for all children equally, but when the most vulnerable children are excluded or ignored, universal participation is unattainable” (p. 2). Diverse groups of children are prevented for accessing and/or equally participating in early childhood education due to various barriers. This exclusion and inequalities have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, where access to resources, to digital education environments, to assistive technology and appropriate learning processes became even more distant for a great number of children around the world.
At the same time, digital and technology enhanced education is gaining ground. European (e.g. EU Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027; European Agency, 2022) and global (UNICEF, 2021) initiatives shifted interest in inclusive digital and accessible education, and underline the importance of assistive technology. Albeit the emphasis on the importance of early intervention and access to inclusive, quality early childhood education, there is still a lot to be done in practice, in order to empower children, families and education actors in gearing innovative and assistive technologies for equal access and participation in early years.
In the Special Thematic Session on “Assistive Technology and Inclusive Early Childhood Education”, we welcome presentations addressing the different links between AT and inclusive early childhood education. Topics include, but are not limited to,
- Research and development of AT in early years education;
- Fostering new skills and knowledge for teachers’ and education stakeholders in the use of AT in early childhood education;
- Child-centred co-design of Assistive Technologies;
- Innovative ideas on how to include diverse groups of children in early childhood education with the use of AT;
- Family involvement in inclusive technology enhanced early childhood education;
- Policy and decision making for promoting AT in early childhood education;
- Case studies that provide examples of AT in early childhood education.
- Innovative AT service provision practices in early childhood education
- Katerina Mavrou, Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus, Cyprus
- Lorenzo Desideri, WeCareMore Research & Innovation Centre of AIAS Bologna, Italy
- Silvio Pagliara, Advisory Board, GLIC Association, Italy
Information: sts07 at aaate2023 dot eu