The Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) recognizes and endorses the basic right of all students to full and equal participation in education as individuals.

The right to a meaningful education is a fundamental human right of every person. Nova Scotia public education is designed with all learners in mind with an emphasis on the value of diversity in learning and an understanding of various perspectives. Learning happens best when all students are accepted, understood and valued for their unique talents, skills and assets.
 
Inclusive education is a commitment to ensuring a high quality, culturally and linguistically responsive and equitable education to support the development, wellbeing and learning (academic achievement) of all learners. In an inclusive learning community, every learner feels they belong – accepted, safe, and valued so they can best learn and succeed. 

This requires:

  • Commitment to excellence in supporting the well-being and overall academic success of all students
  • Teaching and supports, based on evidence, that focus on students’ physical, social-emotional, and behavioral well-being and that promotes well-being and academic development
  • Promoting the independence of all students and developing their resilience as they progress through their academic careers
  • Focus on equity by supporting success for students who are historically marginalized, racialized, or come from other groups that have been traditionally underrepresented and underserved
  • Stimulating learning opportunities to keep all students engaged, challenged, and inspired
  • Ensuring that all students see themselves reflected throughout their schools and within their learning  
  • Safe, caring schools to welcome parents/guardians, families, and the broader community as key partners.  Parents are particularly important in identifying the strengths, interests, and challenges of their children and in working with teachers and others in the school to determine the best way to support them
  • Partners, (health, community services, and justice), who work together to meet students’ needs in a culturally and linguistically responsive, accepting, respectful, and supportive manner that honours each student’s cultural and linguistic identity and values their experiences and ways of knowing

The following guiding principles show the desired state that all partners in education should strive to achieve.

  • Inclusive education is a commitment to the well-being and achievement of every student
  • Every student can learn with enough time, practice and equitable and responsive teaching
  • All students are entitled to full-day instruction every day, with flexibility based on the student’s individual needs
  • All students are entitled to be taught within a common learning environment (e.g., classroom) with their peers within the community school, with flexibility based on the student’s individual needs.
  • Inclusive education values student voices and choices in achieving their goals
  • Each student deserves to belong (affirmed, validated, and nurtured), be safe, and feel welcomed in all aspects of their daily experience
    • Validate – The intentional legitimatization of the home culture and language of the student.
    • Affirm – The purposeful effort to reverse the negative stereotypes, images, and representations of marginalized cultures and languages.
  • Inclusive education practices use evidence of students’ strengths and needs to determine a system of supports
  • All partners are committed and empowered to work collectively to identify and overcome barriers that interfere with student well-being and success