Creating an inclusive classroom environment
Students are not all the same. Every student has their own individual needs, as well as their own interests and abilities. Creating an inclusive classroom, one that works for everyone, is no easy task.
Here are just a few ways to make your classroom inclusive, accommodating the needs of every single pupil at once:
Have a quiet corner - All students should feel like they have somewhere to go if they start to feel overwhelmed. Provide a quiet sheltered space that students should have access to, and monitor its use day-to-day. If a student goes to this quiet space, make sure that they remain undisturbed. If someone's hiding away too frequently, check if they need extra support or if they're just trying to skip lessons.
Provide height-adjustable desks - Height-adjustable school desks are ideal for a varied student body. Someone that's shorter or taller than their peers, or that uses a wheelchair or mobility device, should not feel like their desk's out of reach.
Label your classroom storage - If you have a lot of storage, including school trays and cupboards, make sure that these are clearly labelled. Use a written word and a representative image, for both visual and verbal thinkers.
Nobody should have to waste time finding their way around their classroom. If a student is looking for something, make sure that it's easy to find.
Avoid big changes - Changing your classroom might seem like a fun way to keep things new and fresh, but for some students, it causes unnecessary stress. If students have managed to learn where things are, shifting furniture can leave them feeling confused. Make any big changes to your classroom during the school summer holidays, rather than part-way through the academic year.
Set pegs at different heights - Like school desks, coat pegs should not be a 'one height fits all' solution. For children that struggle to stand, or use a wheelchair, lower school pegs might be needed. Set pegs at different heights, and make sure that they're not all installed within a tight space. Every student should be able to reach their peg, even if they're using a wheelchair.
Think about locker placement - Like pegs for coats and bags, it's important to consider locker use. Some students will struggle to bend down to reach the lowest lockers, whilst others won't be able to reach the very top row.
Whilst assigning lockers, take into account each person's height and mobility. Don't assign lockers at random, but based on the needs of your students.
It can be difficult to take every need into account. But, a few simple changes will make your classroom more accessible for every single student.