Key principles of inclusive education and main challenges of implementing inclusive practice at preschool level in Greece



Participation in high quality preschool education has long-term positive effects on children's development and the benefits are greater for children at risk of exclusion and from vulnerable environments. Modern and inclusive societies respond with equity and social justice to the diverse needs of the population. In this context, inclusive pre-school education aims at quality education for all learners, with equal opportunities for access, learning and achievement. Inclusion requires a significant change of mindset and a process of systemic reform and coordinated action at various levels, such as legal, political, organizational, pedagogical, educational, etc. Actions to transform the education system to meet the academic and social learning needs of all learners. In this article we report a study on investigation of the training needs, knowledge and skills of preschool teachers in Greece, for the implementation of inclusive education. Quantitative data obtained through a questionnaire were supplemented by preschool teacher interviews. In particular, the survey captured the thoughts, experiences, and priorities of policy makers on inclusive pre-school education at European and national level. It also included questionnaires and interviews with key people in the education process in Greece about their thoughts and experiences on "what, how and why" different factors and conditions could facilitate effective inclusive practices. The findings can contribute to the improvement of inclusive practices at preschool education and influence the policy and practice of inclusive education in Greece.


Inclusive education, early childhood education and care, pre-school inclusive education, pre-school teachers’ training needs

Full Text:



Adler, M., & Ziglio, E. (Eds.). (1996). Gazing into the oracle. Bristol. PA: Kingsley.

Artiles, A. J., Kozleski, E., & Waitoller, F. (Eds.). (2011). Inclusive education: Examining equity on five continents. Boston: Harvard Education Press.

Azorín, C., & Mel Ainscow, M. (2020). Guiding schools on their journey towards inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 24(1), 58-76.

Babbie, E. (2010). The practice of social research. Belmont: Wadsworth.

Barton, E., & Smith, B. (2015). Advancing high-quality preschool inclusion: A discussion and recommendations for the field. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 35(2), 69-78.

Bohner, G., & Dickel, N. (2011). Attitudes and attitude change. Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 391-417.

Clark-Carter, D. (2010). Quantitative psychological research: The complete student’s companion. Sussex: Taylor & Francis.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. NY: Routledge Falmer.

Council of the European Union. (2010). Council conclusions on the social dimension of education and training. 3013th Education, Youth and Culture Council meeting Brussels. Retrieved from

Council of the European Union. (2021). Establishing a European Child Guarantee. Official Journal of the European Union. L 223, 22 June 2021. Document L:2021:223:TOC. Retrieved from EUR-Lex - 32021H1004 - EN - EUR-Lex (

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Ohio: Merill Prentice Hall.

Dalkey, N., & Helmer, O. (1963). An experimental application of the Delphi method

to the use of experts. Management Science, 9, 458-467.

De Vaus, D. (2001). Research design in social research. Surrey: Sage Publications.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2008). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Strategies of qualitative inquiry (pp. 1-43). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Dias, P. C., & Cadime, I. (2016). Effects of personal and professional factors on teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion in preschool. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 31(1), 111-123.

European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. (2015). Agency position on inclusive education systems. Retrieved from


European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, (2018). Evidence of the Link Between Inclusive Education and Social Inclusion: Final Summary Report. Odense: Denmark.

European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport, and Culture. (2021). Education and training 2020: highlights from the ET 2020 Working Groups 2018-2020. Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved from

European Commission. (2014). Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care. Report of the Working Group on Early Childhood Education and Care under the auspices of the European Commission. Retrieved from

European Commission. (2017). European Pillars of Social Rights. Retrieved from European Pillar of Social Rights | European Commission (

Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Fyssa, A., & Vlachou, A. (2015). Assessment of quality for inclusive programs in Greek preschool classrooms. Journal of Early Intervention, 37(3), 190-207.

Fyssa, A., Vlachou, A., & Avramidis, E. (2014). Early childhood teachers' understanding of inclusive education and associated practices: reflections from Greece. International Journal of Early Years Education, 22(2), 223-237.

Galović, D., Brojčin, B., & Glumbić, N. (2014). The attitudes of teachers towards inclusive education in Vojvodina. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(12), 1262-1282.

Ghergut, A. (2010). Analysis of inclusive education in Romania. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 711-715.

Gilor, O., & Katz, M. (2018). Pre-service teachers’ willingness to engage in inclusive teaching: An explanatory model. Journal of International Special Needs Education, 21(2), 1-14.

Gray, P. S., Williamson, J. B., Karp, D. A., & Dalphin, J. R. (2007). The research imagination: An introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kinsella, W., & Joyce S. J. (2008). Developing inclusive schools: A systemic approach. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12(5-6), 651-665.

Lee, S., & Janta, B. (2020). Strengthening the quality of Early Childhood Education and Care through inclusion. European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion.

Malinen, O. P., Savolainen, H., Engelbrecht, P., Xu, J., Nel, M., Nel, N., & Tlale, D. (2013). Exploring teacher self-efficacy for inclusive practices in three diverse countries. Teaching and Teacher Education, 33, 34-44.

Mitchell, D. (2017). Diversities in education. Effective ways to reach all learners. London: Routledge.

OECD. (2002). Education at a glance 2002: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing

Pantić, N., & Lani Florian, L. (2015). Developing teachers as agents of inclusion and social justice. Education Inquiry, 6(3), 333-351.

Queeney, D. S. (1995). Assessing needs in continuing education: An essential tool for quality improvement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

UNESCO. (2008). Inclusive education: The way of the future, Forty-eight session of the international Conference on Education. Reference document: ED/BIE/CONFINTED 48/3. Geneva: UNESCO.

UNESCO. (2015). Teacher policy development guide: Summary. Teachers for Education 2030. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from

Underwood, K., Valeo, A., & Wood, R. (2012). Understanding inclusive Early Childhood Education: A capability approach. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(4), 290-299.

Vasileiadis, I., Koutras, S., & Dimitriadou, I. (2022). The perceptions of primary, education teachers about inclusive education in the Greek educational system. European Journal of Education Studies, 8(2) 12-31.

Wu-Ying H., & Chang-Ming H. (2012). Urban early childhood teachers' attitudes

towards inclusive education. Early Child Development and Care, 182(9), 1-18.


View Counter: Abstract | 0 | times, and PDF | 0 | times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Mediterranean Journal of Education | ISSN: 2732-6489 |  Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood EducationUniversity of Patras.

Pasithee | Library & Information Center | University of Patras