Nuts and Bolts of Inclusive Education

Newman, Barbara J. Nuts and Bolts of Inclusive Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Learning Center, 2013. 

This book, published by Christian Learning Center, provides exactly what its title implies—practical guidelines and suggestions for implementing inclusive education in the Christian school. This book would be a great resource for Christian schools that are just entering the world of inclusive education as well as for those that are looking to improve or expand their existing programming.

The book provides a brief history of special education and then considers a model for inclusion. As individual schools implement inclusive education in a variety of different ways, the author takes time to establish the meaning of the term inclusion as used by the Christian Learning Center (CLC), and to identify what she sees as the two key components of an inclusive education: ownership and friendship. A major focus of this section is on the biblical principles that undergird inclusive education. Dr. Thomas B. Hoeksema, education professor emeritus at Calvin College and well-known proponent of inclusive education, is a valuable contributor to this portion of the book.

In addition to a brief general history of special education, the book includes a history of the work of the CLC network; CLC partner schools are clearly one target audience for this publication. Many of the chapters include references to other CLC publications and resources, and Newman frequently encourages readers to contact a CLC network consultant for additional information on a topic. Teachers and administrators from schools that do not have a formal partnership with the CLC network can still benefit from this work, however, as it contains many wonderful resources. The book walks the reader through the inclusion process, starting with intake and continuing, piece by piece, through writing goals, planning, communication, lesson plans, report cards, and working with paraeducators. Each topic is accompanied by helpful examples, as well as sample forms that could be adapted for use by school staff.

Starting with the section on the intake process, the book spells out each step of the procedure with model letters and forms, including an example of a completed placement report so readers can see what the process might look like. The section on preparation details the responsibilities of the special educator as well as the responsibilities of the general educator in preparing to welcome the child. It also includes suggestions for preparing the child, the child’s parent(s), the child’s classroom peers, and the school community for the inclusion experience.

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