Preschool Development Grant: Inclusion
& Universal Design Project

The Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE) provides coaching, training, and materials/equipment support to create more inclusive and universally designed learning environments in Colorado’s licensed child care settings.

This special project was developed to support and train child care providers to meet the needs of children with delays and disabilities in an inclusive child care setting. We are excited to bring the Inclusion & Universal Design Project to child care providers throughout Colorado. 

The fall of 2020 brought the first 25 participating child care providers together for a combination of small group learning, one on one coaching sessions, and an Introduction to Universal Design webinar. To support and implement their learning, each program received a kit of adapted materials. These kits featured a wide variety of simple, low cost items for adapting toys, books, and learning environments to support all children, including those with delays and disabilities.

The three-year project is supported by the Colorado Department of Human Services – Office of Early Childhood and funded through the state’s Preschool Development Grant. Over those three years, the project will equip over 100 licensed child care providers, homes and centers, to create classrooms that meet the needs of all children. Through the implementation of inclusion and universal design principles, these providers will expand inclusive, supportive child care options for children and their families. 

 

Through this 3-year project, from 2020-2022, a model for the application of assistive technology (AT) and inclusive learning and design is being offered and refined to promote effective early learning environments for children with delays and disabilities.

The model, funded by the Preschool Development Grant (PDG), a federal grant awarded to Colorado, is being offered to a select number of licensed child care providers. The PDG: Inclusion & Universal Design Project was developed to train and prepare child care providers to support and meet the needs of children with delays and disabilities in an inclusive child care setting.

 

The goal of the project, being implemented by the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering through the University of Colorado Denver, is to expand Colorado’s child care provider capacity and ensure children with a wide variety of delays and disabilities can fully access and participate in their early learning environment.

  1. Increase educational, caregiver and related service staff knowledge in the implementation of inclusive design and delivery of low-tech AT services, and;
  2. Create positive outcomes that demonstrate the efficacy of low-tech AT services and inclusive design principles when implemented within a child care center or home child care setting.

Including underserved and vulnerable populations will be an important part of the project’s goals.

Each year of the project will focus on determining the needs of the child care providers in the cohort and developing effective methods to support their work. Each cohort will consist of licensed child care providers who are committed to advancing inclusion and universal design in their programs. Participants will receive training opportunities, coaching, and professional development on the appropriate use of adapted materials and low-tech Assistive Technologies in their programs to create a learning environment that is more accessible to all children.

Licensed child care centers and family child care homes selected for participation will receive the following:

  • Up to 8 hours of free training for staff (live webinars and online trainings), including topics such as inclusion, universal design, making adaptations and modifications for a variety of delays and disabilities, and assistive technology;
  • Customized coaching from CU Denver faculty to meet the unique needs of children, staff, and the child care program;
  • An “Inclusive Classroom Supports kit” containing numerous low-cost, low-tech adapted materials, assistive technologies, and resources to support the development of inclusive learning environments;
  • Access to a loan library of low-tech and adapted tools and equipment to borrow for trial in the child care to determine its value and applicability to their setting before deciding to purchase.

Preschool children eating at a table
Little girl with down syndrome holding a pencil
little boy playing with a truck adapted with a shower ring
baby girl using a switch toy to control a switch adapted chihuahua toy
Teacher with group of small children
Preschool development grant birth through five