Inclusion boils down to belonging, but how can we ensure that children from a diverse range of backgrounds and with diverse needs feel that they belong in their schools and classrooms? Daniel Sobel offers some tips, reflections – and a checklist!

Helena Wahlberg, a leading inclusionista in Scandinavia, and I were in the middle of chat on stage and she stumped me with: “Inclusion is a verb.”

This led to a discussion about what the point of all this inclusion talk is. We found ourselves agreeing that it boils down to achieving “belonging”.

The next day, I participated in an online discussion with inclusion experts from 60 countries and someone asked: What does inclusion mean? In the resulting “word-map”, there was one word that dwarfed all the others: Belonging.

Soon after, I was roped into a panel discussion in a London borough about “gang crime” and the first (and only) thing I said was: “I don’t know anything about gangs or crime or combinations thereof, except I have one question: How can we make our classrooms feel like more of a place of belonging for a child than a gang?”

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