Two preschoolers hold hands while running outside.  Another preschooler is in the background jumping on a child size trampoline.
About Us Introduction about the Head Start Center for Inclusion website

About Us

Learn more about our mission, history, founding team, and funders.


Inclusion refers to the full and active participation of young children with disabilities in everyday settings.  The success of inclusion depends on efforts that go far beyond simply allowing children with disabilities to be in classrooms with other children who are typically developing. The Head Start Center for Inclusion (HSCI) was founded on a commitment to support early childhood educators in their efforts to create inclusive learning experiences for all children.


Funded by the Office of Head Start and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2008-2011, HSCI was established at the University of Washington to systematically address barriers to effective inclusion by increasing the competence, confidence, and effectiveness of Head Start program personnel to fully include children with disabilities. For over a decade, The Head Start Center for Inclusion has been a trusted source for high-quality, evidence-based, inclusion resources and supports, and the demand continues.

Based on current research about the inclusion of children with disabilities and effective professional development, HSCI aims to improve the practice of early childhood educators by:

  • Providing information, materials, training, and innovative web-based learning opportunities on family-centered support and evidence-based instructional strategies.
  • Offering innovative professional development opportunities to local Head Start programs.
  • Learning from Head Start programs about the factors that lead to the adoption, fidelity, implementation, and sustainability of effective inclusion practices.
  • Coordinating with OHS-sponsored training and technical assistance providers to provide ongoing consultation on effective practices to Head Start programs across the country.
  • Ensuring that all Head Start programs across the nation have unfettered access to the tools and learning materials that HSCI has developed, thanks to the grant.

Currently, Cultivate Learning and the EarlyEdU Alliance at the University of Washington maintain the HSCI site, and new resources continue to be developed.

The HSCI Founding Team

Gail Joseph

Founding Principal Investigator

Susan Sandall

Co-Principal Investigator

Ilene Schwartz


Lindsey Lawrence

Curriculum Specialist

Kristin Ainslie

Curriculum Specialist

Rene Press



Funding from the  Office of Head Start  and contributions from the  National Center on Early Childhood Development Teaching and Learning enables Cultivate Learning and the EarlyEdU Alliance at the University of Washington  to maintain the HSCI website and develop new resources to promote inclusion.

Footer wave Fun wavy graphic
Head Start Center for Inclusion Logo

Contact Us

5001 25th Ave NE #201e Seattle, WA 98105 | UW Box # 354238


© 2024 Head Start Center for Inclusion, University of Washington