2011 - 2012

Funded by Johnson & Johnson

Education is a fundamental right and a basic necessity for children to participate and thrive in their communities. Inclusive education is beneficial for all children, fostering an environment where children thrive academically and socially. Children learn respect and acceptance for each person’s strengths, challenges and unique gifts.

With funding from Johnson & Johnson, and partnership with government representatives in Moscow, Keystone Foundation for Children and Families (KFCF) embarked on a project to assess the needs and readiness of key stakeholders to develop inclusive education for children with intellectual disabilities in Moscow. KFCF aimed to develop an inclusive preschool program in Moscow, and the first phase of the project began with consultation to determine the needs of schools and the community.

Based on the Head Start model, we envisioned that children with and without disabilities would learn in the same classrooms and have access to services and supports, such as medical, dental, nutritional and development services to prepare them for school and life in the community.

In addition, parents were encouraged to actively participate in the program and their child’s education, enhancing their personal capacities and increasing their access to social services, job training, higher education and employment opportunities. Parents were also be empowered to educate the community about inclusion and disability rights and to become effective advocates for their children.

Inclusive education can raise awareness in the community about the rights of children and adults with disabilities. The system of inclusive education to be developed by subsequent phases of the Equal Access to Education project aimed to serve as a model to benefit other regions of Russia.

When all children learn and grow together, regardless of ability, they and their families develop a vision of a hopeful and positive future. Families and communities are strengthened, and all people are accepted and welcomed to participate as active members of the community.