For a while, a polarized societal debate on pros and cons of inclusion of children with special needs in the Danish public school has been going on. The Nest project is an example of a pedagogic approach, which tries to connect the positive elements in special education with the positive elements in inclusion. In Nest, children with autism (ASD) are included in general education classes with reduced class size and taught after special pedagogical principles based on the principles in the American mother program. This project aims to evaluate the startup of Nest in the school year 2016/2017 in two Kindergarten classrooms (with pupils aged 6-7 years old) on the Katrinebjerg School in Aarhus.
|Kindergarten pupils with autism (ASD) and their class peers.|
Number of participants:
Each of the two Nest-classes on the Katrinebjerg School contains 4 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 12 general education pupils at the beginning. The children stays in the class until grade 9. More children are enrolled into the program until grade 6. From grade 6 until 9, the number of 24 pupils (of which 6 pupils with ASD) in each Nest class are maintained. The included children with autism are carefully selected regarding, whether they are considered able to do grade level academic work with support and to stay in the Nest class until grade 9.
Beside reduced class size, Nest is amongst others based on co-teaching principles, increased involvement of parents as well as continuous feedback and coaching between educators and school management.
The content of Nest is based on the principles in the American mother program. The program is based on the needs that children with autism (ASD) has in connection to: 1) structure, consistency, predictability, 2) information broken down, 3) processing time, 4) self-regulation instruction, 5) supported peer interactions.
Nest is evaluated by comparison to other Kindergarten classrooms. The treatment group consists of the 8 Nest children and their 24 classmates from the two Nest Kindergarten classes on the Katrinebjerg School. The comparison group consists of children in Aarhus Municipalities’ three Kindergarten classes for children with special needs (approx. 21 children), and of three chosen general education Kindergarten classes with included children (approx. 70 children). This design is only strong enough to give indicators of how the children in the Nest classes has developed compared to children with similar needs in the municipalities’ alternative offers (special classes and general education classes with included children).
Aarhus Municipality and New York University.
The first results are expected in 2017.
About Nest on New York University's website.
About Nest on Aarhus Municipality's website (in Danish).