Including Young Learners with Special Needs
in Social Studies Classrooms
Before No Child Left Behind (2001), young learners (Kindergarten-3) with special needs were often pulled out of social studies and science classrooms for instruction from their special education teacher. Due to scheduling logistics and lower expectations, special needs students did not always receive the benefits of a full education. Inclusion of special needs students in general education classroom is implemented in schools today to rectify such inequalities. The focus of this paper is to offer research-based practices for differentiating instruction in the social studies that could benefit young learners with diverse needs. Some of these include: adapting instruction, adapting assignments, teaching learning skills, varying instructional grouping, and facilitating progress monitoring.
Key words: young learners, special needs, inclusion, social studies, elementary, teacher preparation, professional development, diversity, differentiation, adaptation, inclusion, special education