Inclusive Education: Lessons From History
Inclusive education has a long and varied history, with many lessons to be learned. Inclusive education has been advocated for in various forms since the late 1800s, when educators began to appreciate the benefits of reaching students from all walks of life.
One of the first demonstrations of the benefits of inclusive education came from the Prussian educator Friedrich Fröbel. In 1836, Fröbel founded the first kindergarten in Berlin, which was open to children of all social backgrounds. Fröbel’s model of inclusive education quickly spread, and by the late 1800s, inclusive education was commonplace in schools across Europe.
Inclusive education continued to be championed in the early 20th century. One of the most influential advocates of inclusive education was Helen Keller. Keller was a deaf and blind woman who learned to communicate through sign language. In 1919, Keller published her book The Story of My Life, in which she discussed her experiences with inclusive education.
In the early 1960s, UNESCO began to study the effects of inclusive education. The results of this study led to the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in 2006.
Today, inclusive education is still widely advocated for. Schools that adhere to the principles of inclusive education are seen as more inclusive and welcoming environments for all students. The benefits of inclusive education are numerous, and include improved academic performance, social integration, and stronger relationships among students from different backgrounds.