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Environment

two girls playing indoors

Practices that support effective, engaging, and accessible environments refer to age-appropriate equipment, materials, supplies, and physical spaces. Environments also include developmentally appropriate schedules, lesson plans, and experiences that practitioners and families can alter to make necessary accommodations to support all children, especially those at risk for or diagnosed with disabilities.

These practices are aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) in the following domains: Approaches to Learning; Social and Emotional Development; and Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development. Learn more about recommended practices related to environment from the Division for Early Childhood.

Resources for each topic area are organized based on their level of impact for learning. The resources provided are only a sampling of the resources available on these practices.

Knowledge Awareness Level

Resources that fall into this category provide basic information and do not include activities that draw participants in to respond or reflect. They include archived webinar recordings and checklists.

Let's Talk About Routines
This Caring Connections podcast looks at the value of predictable routines to help young children build a sense of trust and security. Home visitors and child care providers will hear tips for creating meaningful routines.

Classroom Visuals and Supports
Find an array visual supports teachers can use to increase a child’s understanding and engagement in the classroom. The visual supports include daily schedule pictures, problem-solving cues, classroom jobs, behavior expectations, and more. These can be downloaded and printed for use in the classroom or at home.

Environmental Support
This in-service suite offers strategies for using environmental support to help increase the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Materials Adaptation
Find strategies for using material adaptations to help increase the classroom participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Activity Simplification
Watch this in-service suite to discover strategies for simplifying activities to increase participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Child Preferences
This in-service suite offers strategies for using child preferences to help increase the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

15-minute Inclusion In-service Overview
Read a brief overview of the 15-minute in-service resources designed to help Head Start programs include children with disabilities in their classroom and other programs.

Integration Checklist: Including Children with Significant Disabilities in Head Start
This checklist helps disabilities coordinators, teachers, and staff members ensure that children with significant disabilities are included in Head Start program and classroom routines and activities to the maximum extent possible.

Offering Support During Mealtimes and Snacks
Discover information to help teaching staff and parents plan supports and adaptations for children with disabilities during mealtimes. Strategies focus on modifications in positioning, food selections, adaptive equipment, environmental factors, and child-specific training. Find tips for facilitating the inclusion of children with disabilities into mealtime activities.

Knowledge Acquisition Level

The resources below include information and activities that draw participants in to respond or reflect.

Early Intervention and School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs
This webinar focuses on school readiness skills for all children, with specific emphasis on serving children with special needs in home and program environments. Practical adaptations in children’s natural environments, experiences, routines, and materials that support growth and learning are offered.

Curriculum Modifications: An Introduction
See an overview of eight types of curriculum modifications. Teachers can make these simple changes to classroom activities to increase a child’s engagement and learning.

Activity Matrix: Organizing Learning Throughout the Day
This in-service suite introduces the Activity Matrix as an effective tool teachers can use to organize learning opportunities for children who need additional support during daily classroom activities and routines. Examples of how the matrix can be used with children’s individual learning goals are shared. Supporting materials for teachers, supervisors, and trainers include tips, tools, and helpful resources.

Head Start Center for Inclusion: Individualizing
Review a suite of materials designed to assist teachers and supervisors with individualizing in the classroom. Teacher resources include tips with practical strategies, planning guides, and learning center signs and helpful resources. A supervisor’s guide offers a model for observations in the classroom. The quality indicator checklist can help teachers ensure foundational elements of a quality classroom are in place.

Highly Individualized Teaching and Learning: An Overview
Watch a short video and explore supporting materials about the levels of individualization that may be appropriate for children with diverse strengths and needs. The video briefly describes three ways that teachers can individualize their teaching: making simple modifications; providing many embedded learning opportunities; and using more intensive teaching practices. Supporting materials include tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Mastery Level

Coaches, faculty, and professional development providers can use these resources to teach content to and support others in developing knowledge and skills application related to the content.

Curriculum Modifications: An Introduction
This in-service suite gives an overview of eight types of curriculum modifications. Teachers can use these simple changes to classroom activities to increase a child’s engagement and learning.

Environmental Support
Discover strategies for using environmental support to help increase the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Materials Adaptation
Find strategies for using material adaptations to help increase the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Activity Simplification
Find tips and tools for simplifying activities to help increase the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Child Preferences
This in-service suite offers strategies for using child preferences to support the participation of children who need more support or challenge. Links to supporting materials are provided, including tips, tools, and resources for teachers, supervisors, and trainers.

Activity Matrix: Organizing Learning Throughout the Day
This in-service suite introduces the Activity Matrix as an effective tool for teachers to organize learning opportunities for children who need additional support during daily classroom activities and routines. Examples of how the matrix can be used with children’s individual learning goals are shared. Supporting materials for teachers, supervisors, and trainers include tips, tools, and helpful resources.

Head Start Center for Inclusion: Individualizing
Review a suite of materials to assist teachers and supervisors with individualizing in the classroom. Teacher resources includes tips with practical strategies, planning guides, and learning center signs and helpful resources. A supervisor’s guide offers a model for observations in the classroom. The quality indicator checklist can help teachers ensure foundational elements of a quality classroom are in place.

« Back to Resources Supporting Individualization

Last Updated: February 12, 2018