This paper describes qualitative research nested in a larger intervention programme developing and piloting a model of disability inclusive early childhood development and education (ECDE) in two districts in Kenya for future national rollout.
Working with Kenyan in-country teams from international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), partners and international researchers, a Kenyan facilitator led nine peer researchers with disabilities to run focus groups with parents of children with disabilities, teachers in ECDE classes and some children with disabilities. The findings were analysed thematically using a collaborative online process with the team, generating eight key themes, the main five of which are presented here.
Parents and teachers were generally positive about children with disabilities attending mainstream ECDE classes, as were children themselves. However, understandings about inclusion and what it implies were rather variable. Some adults were unsure whether all children with disabilities could be included in local pre-schools.
There were major concerns about school resources, training, skills and numbers of teachers, accessibility, and safety. For many parents living in poverty, the cost of sending their child to school was a factor. Having peer researchers involved, had many benefits as they were perceived as empathic facilitators and inspirational for children with disabilities and their parents. The findings will inform the intervention which continues until 2024.