As many students and teachers head back to school, it’s important to think about inclusion in the classroom as well as on the playground. Socialization at school can often be struggle for children with special needs, and their isolation may have a damaging effect. That’s why Shane’s Inspiration created the online Inclusion Lunch Box program.
The Inclusion Lunch Box program is an interactive elementary school program that promotes social inclusion and reduces bullying toward children with disabilities. The program works in a simple, three-step process:
- Students between grades 3 and 6 participate in a 60-minute ability awareness workshop, during which they use written and hands-on exercises and group discussion to explore common misconceptions and perceptions about disabilities. They learn to distinguish between fact and fiction.
- Students with and without special needs are then paired at an inclusive playground to spend the day playing with and learning about each other. Using a variety of toys/games/activities, children of all abilities are supported as they connect.
- In a post play date workshop in the classroom, students consider how their perceptions shifted about themselves and people with disabilities. Following the initial program, teachers can continue educating students about ability awareness throughout the year via humanities-based activities.
We support this program of Shane’s Inspiration, and their efforts to make it available to elementary schools throughout North America. Available for download at shanesinspiration.org/education, the Inclusion Lunch Box program includes step-by-step guides and materials to facilitate classroom and playground workshops, plus a follow-up academic curriculum. Even more, Shane’s Inspiration staff is available for ongoing support to teachers and administrators.