Better Together

The Importance of Partnership

The National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute is one of the premier educational opportunities for anyone involved in the care and education of young children with special needs in inclusive settings. Dozens of world-class experts, dozens of groundbreaking sessions, free courses for CEUs—and an enduring impact. For 20 years, the Inclusion Institute has drawn people from across the country and around the globe to Chapel Hill to learn about the latest research findings, models, and resources to guide inclusive policy, professional development and practice; to develop collaborative relationships and cross-agency systems to support early childhood inclusion; and to have the opportunity to meet, learn from and problem solve with peers.

2020 Keynote Address with Bethany Van Delft MoffiThe Importance of Stories in Family Engagement and Advocacy

2020 Pre-conference Workshops 

Dealing with Challenging Behavior: Innovative Tier 1 Strategies for Classroom Teachers by Adam Holland

In this session, we will approach challenging behavior by developing an understanding of children’s motivation.  With stories and examples from his own time in the classroom, Dr. Holland will illustrate practical ways to set up a classroom in order to reduce or eliminate challenging behavior and provide strategies for how to handle it when it does pop up.  The session will include time for discussion and application as well as opportunities for question and answer.


How to Make Regular Classroom Activities Meaningful for All Children by Robin McWilliam

In the early-childhood inclusive classroom, all activities—planned and unplanned—provide learning opportunities. This workshop will address both how teachers can weave interventions into their regular interactions with children and how specialists (e.g., ECSE, OT, PT, SLP) can help teachers determine needs, arrive at strategies for teachers to carry out, and evaluate the strategies. The workshop is therefore suitable for teachers, supervisors, and specialists. Families and administrators are always a bonus.


Supporting STEM Learning for ALL Children by Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama

Learn about key science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) concepts for young children and discover strategies and activities you can use to support STEM learning for children with and without disabilities in your classroom or at home. Quality early STEM experiences provide a critical foundation for learning about these disciplines as well as literacy, social-emotional, and motor development. In this interactive and engaging workshop you will have the opportunity to try out STEM activities and consider ways to adapt them to fit the ages and abilities of the children you engage with in your work and daily life. 


Wired to Move: Facts and Strategies for Nurturing Boys in an Early Childhood Setting by Constance Walker

Participants will learn how to support boys of all abilities in the classroom through brain-based teaching and support and through a comprehensive approach. This interactive session will help participants to develop/implement a boy-friendly plan in their individual programs during this session. Participants will be given specific strategies around using a collaborative approach to implement this plan effectively. 

Check back soon for session descriptions!

Sessions on Trauma and Resilience: 

The 2020 Inclusion Institute will feature a series of sessions on trauma and resilience, exploring how trauma affects children and families, as well as protective factors that promote resilience. Stay tuned for session descriptions! 

Sessions on Challenging Behavior: 

Conference attendees are increasingly asking for help in dealing with challenging behavior.  We are excited to announce a new series of sessions on this topic.  These sessions will cover approaches for working with children exhibiting challenging behaviors in a multi-tiered system of support: exploring how to set up classrooms in ways that promote safety and security for all children, helping practitioners understand the underlying reasons for behavior, and developing strategies to support children with challenging behaviors as they grow in their ability to communicate their needs more effectively.

From the 2019 Institute:

2019 Keynote Address with Mary Beth Moore 

The 2019 keynote speaker, Mary Beth Moore, the mom of a child with a disability, shared her journey as a collection of lessons learned from embracing the unexpected. Go to Past Institutes to hear her story.




2019 Plenary with Freebird McKinney and Julie Pittman: The Story of Building Bridges and Resiliency: Becoming the Village Teacher and Moving from "That Kid" to "That Teacher" 

Freebird McKinneyJulie PittmanNCs Teacher of the Year and the Western Region Teacher of Year shared their personal stories of resiliency and how they used their stories to build bridges. Freebird shared how he "chose happiness" and discovered his purpose, and Julie shared how understanding trauma can be addressed by building critical relationships and experiences through passionate public educators. 



2019 Federal Plenary Session

Interagency panel of policy leaders: Amanda Bryans, Director Research Analysis and Communication, Office of Early Childhood Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Georgina Peacock, Director for the Division of Human Development and Disability in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Laurie VanderPloeg, Director for the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.

These panelists provided a brief update on early childhood priorities and inclusion initiatives within their agencies in this interactive plenary session.