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Special needs are quickly forgotten during playtime at an Aberdeen playgroup which is leading the way in integration. A recent Disability Rights Commission survey found that people in Britain have mixed feelings about children with special needs attending mainstream schools.But the children at the Aberdeen Children's Society playgroup are testimony to the fact that it can work for everyone's benefit.

5 January 'Saturday Play - The Lord of the Rings'

Look at how discrimination begins among children, parents and early years practitioners and at the way settings accommodate children to see what could be changed. Legislation and the new national standards for under-eights daycare and childminding state that providers must promote anti-discriminatory practice. But what exactly is it? And how do providers set about putting it into practice?

Giving children choices about how they see themselves is the cornerstone of good practice Children acquire information about themselves as they grow into the roles that await them. The relationships formed with influential adults and the messages received from them are central to the formation of a positive identity.

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland has pledged that the country's Executive will protect children's rights, meet their needs and include their voices. Last month Mark Durkan met in Belfast with Olara Otunnu, the United Nations special representative...

Children with be-havioural and de-velopmental dis- orders should be routinely tested for lead, which is a known, but treatable, neurotoxin, say the authors of new research.

The first-ever special needs code of practice in Wales has been unveiled by Jane Davidson, minister for education and lifelong learning. During a visit to Catwg Primary School in Cadoxton, Neath, she said the code of practice would address 'distinctively Welsh issues, arrangements and structures, and aim to provide a better deal for children and young people with SEN, their parents, teachers and schools'.

Persona Dolls in Action. video and support book from Persona Doll Training. (25 plus 2.50 p&p, 020 8446 7056). Reviewed by Jennie Lindon, early years consultant

Aid agencies and charities are struggling to help the children of Afghanistan cope with famine, disease and homelessness and give them the education that would offer their country a future. Annette Rawstrone reports. The start of a new year is often a...

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