Equality and Diversity in Childcare

My name is and I am currently doing a FETAC level 6 Early Childhood Care and Education course. One of the modules is Equality and Diversity in Childcare. For this exercise I will explore equality and diversity concepts as relevant to Irish Society. Analyse approaches to diversity education including, assimilation, multicultural, intercultural and anti-bias. Explore equality and diversity terminology; including prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism and abelism etc. Examine current legislation on Equality and Diversity, to include Equality Legislation, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. I will examine the role of the adult in promoting children’s individual and group identity and their sense of belonging enabling the child to value uniqueness and difference.

Carry out an audit of the ECCE setting, activities and materials pertaining to equality and diversity for all children including the minority and majority Child. Analyse how adults and children can challenge bias and discrimination issues Explore ways of respecting equality and diversity requirements in relation to identity to include, language, gender, social class, disability, age, religion, dietary considerations, ethnic groups, Traveller community, marital status and sexual orientation. Design a mission statement for the ECCE setting with respect to equality and diversity. Discuss the importance of having an equality and diversity approach in an ECCE setting. Investigate the consequences of ignoring equality and diversity issues in the ECCE setting. Reflect on own attitudes, values, beliefs and assumptions and their impact in relation to equality and diversity issues when working with children, families and team members. The importance of equality and diversity in the ECCE setting and personal experiences as a child.

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Tolerance and mutual understanding Today’s Irish society is increasingly heterogeneous and diverse. Accepting the fact that children as young as three-years old are capable of holding and expressing prejudicial attitudes can be quite difficult, but research shows that this is the case. We now know that young children have an ethnic awareness of cultural identity and they are not only aware of the ethnic group they belong to, but they already attach a value judgment to it. The challenge that confronts practitioners, therefore, is to create a learning environment within which existing prejudices are challenged and the potential for developing such attitudes is undermined. Stressing similarity is insufficient, as it is unrealistic to assume that it will somehow remove the tendency by children to make distinctions between themselves and those from different backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious, social, etc. ). Hand-in-hand with an emphasis on similarity, a strategy that can deal sensitively with difference is required.

This type of anti-bias approach seeks to Nurture the development of each child to her/his full potential by actively addressing issues of diversity and equity in the early years setting ,for example, children form positive attitudes towards difference from a very early age, they are more likely to grow up appreciating diversity as a normal part of their lives. Growing up my first memory of knowing or feeling any difference about religion would have been the troubles in Northern Ireland and my memories show me that children are capable of recognising differences and holding sectarian prejudices from a young age.

I am forty five years old and I remember sitting with my family and saying a Hail Mary to protect the Catholic’s from the Protestants at a time when things flared up,I was very frightened and my siblings not much older than me explained what was happening in great drama and detail. It was simple to my brothers England stole counties from Ireland and they were called Protestants, the Irish people were Catholic’s and they were trying to get their counties back. We were Catholic’s and we were right. A Protestant is a bad person because they want to harm and fight all Catholics.

These young boys I thought were well informed and I declared my own little war on Protestants in my thoughts and feelings. As I grew up things improved in the north and with the help of my parents explaining the rights and wrongs I calmed down as did my rebel brothers. At a young age I knew and heard the following remarks he kicks with the left foot, he’s an orange man and many other negative remarks about the protestant religion, this was common practise whilst I was growing up in my community and the singing of rebel songs was a must for a good successful ight out. A great example of the bias against England was my granny when the Eurovision was on, when Great Britains turn came there were certain profanities hurled at our black and white television and many times over many years I heard her say “I don’t mind if Ireland doesn’t win as long as we beat England”, the same for the Dublin horse show and I as my siblings followed suit its funny and strange to think of how bias we were. I grew up in a rural setting and didn’t see a lot outside of Wexford for many years.

Our neighbour had adopted children one of these children were black, this child was seven years older than me and my older siblings and her were great buddies. The colour of her skin was never an issue and we grew up as close as family. When I was about 10yrs old I went for a day trip to Stillorgan and we were bowling and when we dined in a busy restaurant there were many black people and I can remember being amazed and saying to my mother “there’s a lot of adopted children here isn’t there” .

Even thought the colour of my neighbour’s skin wasn’t an issue I thought and knew she was different at a young age I just had it all wrong. My parents laughed for days and even told my neighbours mother and there was no offence taken or no apology to be made. I don’t think this would happen today, I would tell my 11yr old to not to say that and explain in great detail the ins and outs of the situation. Sometimes I wonder if things have gone too far. * Goodman (1970) demonstrated that children begin to develop racial identity as early as three years of age.

This is very young I think. My father was a nurse and I went to the convent and the nuns always asked what does your father do , I think they knew the mothers were at the kitchen sink as they never mentioned the poor mothers , when I would reply” he is a nurse” titters and sniggers would fill the classroom . A man a nurse was not the norm when I was a child, it wasn’t the children’s fault this is just how things were at the time, and this would be stereo typing , a man does a mans job and a woman does a woman’s job.

My first encounter with homosexual and gay issues was on a television programme called Dynasty and a character called Stephen, he acted the gay son of a wealthy business man and the gasps and shock of my parents and the neighbours as they watched it religiously in our house because they didn’t have a television was amazing, this was a shocking affliction and it makes me laugh to think of their reaction. I in turn was shocked and hoped I would never catch this complaint.

Rearing my children they have asked me what does gay mean and I have explained its when a woman is attracted to a woman or a man is attracted to a man , their reactions were similar and they were surprised that this was possible , this is down to how they have been reared and been moulded into thinking a women and man fall in love with each other this is stereotyping and I am guilty but I never saw the need to prepare them for any other scenario and I’m sure they will encounter this as they go through life , and hope they will accept it as they should in the correct manner.

How would I feel if they announced to me that they are gay I don’t know? My youth I thought at the start of this course was free of all things related to equality and diversity issues until I really examined myself and learned more about the subject I was studying. Whilst learning and examining my experiences I realise the amount bias, discrimination, racism, prejudice, pre-prejudice and stereo typing there was in my life. I have been guilty of all of the above because of my upbringing and have been subject to some of the above because of my upbringing and my social setting, this I believe is the same for every child starting out in life.

National Childcare Strategy 2006-2010 Diversity and equality guidelines for childcare providers ‘Diversity’ refers to: The diverse nature of Irish society for example in terms of social class, gender, returned Irish emigrants, family status, minority groups and the majority group. ‘Equality’ refers to: The importance of recognising different individual needs and of ensuring equity in terms of access, participation and benefits for all children and their families. It is therefore not about treating people the ‘same’. Childcare Setting’ The term ‘childcare’, as one word, now generally refers to a variety of services providing non-parental care and education for children 0-14 years of age. The term ‘childcare setting’ refers to all the places where children are cared for and educated including the home, creches, naionrai, pre-schools, after-school programmes and primary schools. In the guidelines the term ‘minority group’ includes but is not limited to;  People with a disability * The Traveller community Economic migrants  Black Irish  Irish language speakers  Refugees Asylum seekers Children with gay or lesbian parents  Families of minority religious faith The Majority of the Gaeltacht population are bilingual.

While the Irish language may be the dominant language used by the majority within the Gaeltacht area, Irish language speakers in general may be considered a minority grouping within the national context. The guidelines are for childcare and early childhood: Practitioners Managers Teachers  Development workers * Tutors * Course developers * Policy makers These guidelines complement the work of Siolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education (CECDE 2006) and will support the forthcoming Early Childhood Curriculum Framework being prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. Disability Terminology Within the disability sector some prefer to use the phrase ‘people with disabilities’ and some prefer the phrase ‘disabled people’.

These guidelines are informed by international agreements and Irish legislation and policy, these include: The Irish Constitution (1937) (Bunreacht na h’Eireann) * The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) * UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination(1963)  International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 * Disability Act 2005 * National Children’s Strategy 2000 -2010 Children First Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of children (1999) Child Care Act 1991 Children Act 2001 The Official Languages Act 2003 By ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) Ireland committed to:“respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or ther status. ” Ireland also committed to: “Take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinion, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members. ” Aim and objectives of the guidelines.

These guidelines aim to support childcare practitioners, early childhood teachers, managers and policy makers in their exploration, understanding and development of diversity and equality practice. Objectives Foster awareness about diversity and equality issues. Stimulate discussion about bias and discrimination. * Encourage the development of services that are inclusive of all children and their families. The guidelines are prepared on behalf of the National Childcare Coordinating Committee and are informed by a range of current diversity, equality and anti discriminatory educational approaches. They draw heavily on the Anti-bias Approach developed by Louise Derman-Sparks in the USA, now widely adapted and used in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

How to Use the Guidelines The guidelines are in six sections, with each sub-divided for ease of access. Managers, practitioners or project workers can choose appropriate parts of the guidelines to begin their exploration. It is important to assess which areas the staff feels comfortable dealing with initially. Each section and subsection can be read as a stand-alone guide; key points are reiterated throughout the document to facilitate These guidelines can help to: Improve knowledge and understanding of diversity, equality and discrimination issues. Challenge one’s own thinking, assisting critical reflection and the development of new thinking.  Further understanding as to why diversity and equality policies and practice are important and relevant to childcare services. Generate ideas for discussion at team and network meetings. Develop ideas to tackle discriminatory or difficult issues that arise in practice. Discover ways to assess and critically reflect on the childcare environment and daily practice. Learn how to access information on racism, equality, diversity approaches in childcare. Find out how to source and/or develop resources and activities. Gain new skills to support all levels of work on diversity and equality issues. Create policies and procedures on equality and diversity Working with diversity, equality and anti-discrimination issues is a continuing challenge and these guidelines should not be seen a recipe book. Rather, they offer an opportunity to explore one’s own attitudes to diversity, give practical ideas to make initial changes in the setting, and suggestions to develop equality and diversity practices to benefit the children.

Equally crucial; they provide a platform for crucially reflecting on and rethinking attitudes to diversity and equality. Teaming with others interested in furthering this work will enhance the process, as diversity and equality issues can raise surprisingly difficult questions. Regard these guidelines as a starting point, designed to provoke questions, challenge thinking and offer advice and support for change. In doing so, we will be helping to work towards a more inclusive society for all citizens, beginning with our youngest: Why Do We Need to Consider Diversity and Equality Issues in Our Work with Children?

Diversity and equality issues affect everyone, so we must support all children in their development as active citizens. Practitioners need the empathy, understanding and skills to help children achieve a positive sense of themselves and of others. Our role: to protect and value all children in the setting, foster empathy and provide accurate information about difference to enable children to think critically about and challenge bias. How Can We As Practitioners Address Diversity and Equality? A diversity and equality approach involves creating a childcare setting where each child feels a sense of belonging.

Practitioners should observe and listen to children’s play and adult interaction to identify any bias or discrimination, and then develop methods to deal with issues that arise. Every aspect of the setting comes into play: how children relate to each other, how staff relates to minority and majority children, how language is used, how and what discussions take place, and what activities are undertaken. adults working with young children need to critically reflect on and change where necessary their attitudes to difference.

Derman-Sparks sets out initial steps for understanding the daily lives of all children in the setting, followed by ideas for changing programme activities. The approach, which complements existing programmes, was developed to help people appreciate diversity and view its challenges in a positive light. The approach establishes four goals for adults and children. These are briefly outlined below, together with guidelines towards achieving the goals. Each goal addresses a particular area of growth and builds upon and interacts with the others.

Goal 1: Supporting Children’s Identity and Sense of Belonging “I want ye all to know I’m a Traveller because it’s important to me that everyone is clear about my identity. ” Chrissie O’Sullivan (2001) this first goal helps children develop a strong sense of who they are at individual and group identity levels. Along with personal awareness, children can build a comfortable and confident identity based on the multiple groups to which they belong (ethnic, gender, nationality etc), without feeling superior or inferior to anybody else or any other group.

When beginning this work it is important to identify the backgrounds of all children in the setting; whether largely majority culture or a mix of majority and minority groups. Discuss in the team if all cultures are realistically reflected in the environment and if imagery and materials require changes. Children who feel valued and supported are more likely to be optimistic and learn well. It is important to recognise that family, home, culture, gender, language, ethnicity and ability are important to every child’s developing sense of self.

Practitioners must also be conscious of multiple identities, for example, a child of mixed cultural heritage, a disabled Traveller or a Black child from a new immigrant community and single parent home. Goal 2: Supporting Children to Become Comfortable with Difference. “The way that you behave will have an impact on the children and your outlook and attitudes will become visible to them through your words and actions. ” Jenny Lindon (1999) this goal aims to foster empathy and comfort with difference among all children.

Practitioners can guide young children to learn respectfully about differences; understanding and adapting while accepting the common humanity shared by all. Even the very young can discover that others may have the same feelings as they do, despite having a different lifestyle, language, religion, social class, family or physical appearance/abilities. We can support children’s emotional development, appreciating that diversity makes life richer, and we can enhance their ability to communicate, cooperate and collaborate across difference.

Goal 3: Fostering Each Child’s Critical Thinking about Bias “One of the most powerful lessons that I have learned is that even young children are able to reflect on issues that impact on their identity and their lives. The world of children is governed by the same values and beliefs that govern the world of adults” Segura-Mora 2002 This goal aims to help adults and children become critical thinkers about bias, giving them the skills to identify what images and behaviours are fair and unfair.

Children and adults need to understand why names, images, certain phrases and behaviours are unkind, untrue and unfair. They also should begin to learn skills to resist biases and stereotypes that can influence them. Goal 4: Empowering Children to Stand Up for Themselves and Others in the Face of Bias “I remember when we were at school: we were powerless, subjected to subtle stereotypes and prejudices from teachers and peers. ” Doreen Reynolds (2001) If children are beginning to understand fairness and unfairness, they will need the tools to stand up against injustice.

Discrimination is a reality and children benefit from growing up prepared to deal with it. By learning to express their feelings to other children when they or someone else has been hurt, children gain the skills to support others. Practitioners also require this ability as they play a vital role in enabling children to protect themselves. Disability act 2005 In short, the Disability Act 2005 places a statutory obligation on public service providers to support access to services and facilities for people with disabilities.

Under the Act, people with disabilities are entitled to: Have their health and educational needs assistive individual service statements drawn up, setting out what services they should get. * Access independent complaints and appeals procedures. Access public buildings and public service employment. Children’s first guidelines for the protection and welfare of children 1999 * Children should be protected from abuse and neglect. The welfare and protection of children is of paramount importance Everyone has a responsibility for the welfare and protection of children * If you are concerned about a child, you should report that concern without delay to the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE, which has a statutory responsibility to protect children * You can report your concern in person, by telephone or in writing Before deciding whether or not to make a formal report, you may wish to discuss your concerns with the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE (see HSE contacts in Appendix 2).

If it is an emergency and you think a child is in immediate danger and you cannot get in contact with the Child Welfare and Protection Services of the HSE, you should contact the Gardai at any Garda station Primary research Policies and procedures in my work placement Our preschool is committed to valuing diversity by providing equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children and families. We respect and value the linguistic, cultural and religious diversity which Exists in the community. We are committed to challenging attitudes that promote racial discrimination, ensuring respect for all and preparing all children for life in a culturally diverse society. We aim to: Provide a secure environment in which all adults and children can achieve their full potential and in which all contributions are valued; include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity;  provide positive non-stereotyping information about gender roles, diverse ethnic and cultural groups and people with disabilities; improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of anti-discriminatory practice, promoting equality and valuing diversity; prepare children for life in a diverse society; acknowledge the existence of racism and take steps to prevent it:  Access staff training when the opportunities arise.

The legal framework for this policy is:  Race Relations Race Relations Amendment Act Sex Discrimination Act  Childcare Act Human Rights Act Children Act  Special Educational Needs and Disability Act  The Equality Act 2006 Methods We have a designated member of staff who coordinates race equality and diversity issues Admissions Our setting is open to all members of the community.  We welcome all families equally. We advertise our service widely. We reflect the diversity of members of our society in our publicity and promotional materials.  We provide information in clear, concise language, whether in spoken or written form.  We base our admissions policy on a fair system. We ensure that all parents are made aware of our equal opportunities, race equality and diversity policies.  We do not discriminate against a child or their family, or prevent entry to our preschool, on the basis of colour, ethnicity, religion or social background, such as being a member of a travelling community or an asylum seeker. We do not discriminate against a child with a disability or refuse a child entry to our preschool because of any disability. We develop an action plan to ensure that all individuals can participate successfully in the services offered by the preschool and in the curriculum offered.

Employment  Posts are advertised and all applicants are judged against explicit and fair criteria. Applicants are welcome from all backgrounds and posts are open to all. We may use the exemption clauses of the Race Relations Act and the Sex Discrimination Act where this isnecessary to enable the service to best meet the needs of the community. The applicant who best meets the criteria is offered the post, subject to references and checks by theCriminal Records Bureau. This ensures fairness in the selection process. All job descriptions include a commitment to equality and diversity as part of their specifications. * We monitor our application process to ensure that it is fair and accessible. Training We seek out training opportunities for staff and volunteers to enable them to develop anti-discriminatoryand inclusive practices, which enable all children to flourish. The Audit Examination of my work placement on existing equality provision on the setting The entrance into my work placement is rough terrain and is uphill. There is a car park and it too is raw ground there is no disable parking on these premises. The walk up to the setting is up hill and again rough and stony. The entrance door is a standard size door and leads into a hallway.

On the wall there is a handmade poster of a tree each child’s name and photograph is on this. The entrance to the pre-school room is a standard size doorway and it leads into a spacious room with bright colours and windows letting in natural light. The walls are painted with characters clowns,pets. This setting is suitable for all the children. There is one Polish boy in the pre-school he is learning the English language and coping well. There is nothing relating to Poland in the setting as there is nothing relating to Ireland.

There are language barriers regarding this little boy and he does become stressed when trying to express himself. There are also two children with speech difficulties and I find they also become frustrated when asking or trying to get across a single point. Below I will carry out my assessment on my work placement in relation to equality and diversity and make recommendations to improve any issues I find that I believe need to be changed or improved on. Is the premises wheelchair friendly inside and out? | no| Are all activities suitable for girls and boys? yes| Are all activities suitable for a child with special needs as regards a physical disability? | no| Are there aids such as pictures signs ect. in relation to a child or parent with speech difficulties or of a different nationality? | no| Are there any posters pictures relating to Ethnic Minorities? | no| Are there books relating to different countries cultures or social settings of a child for example single parent families or grand parents rearing children? | no| Are there welcome notices in different languages in different languages? no| Are admissions policies in different languages? | no|

Are there any lessons or activities carried out with the children to show how a family that’s any different to the average family carried out with the children? | no| If any child has medication to be taken is it explained to the other children in an understanding way? | yes| Is the dress up corner a welcome corner for each child expressing themselves? | no| Are the staff efficiently trained in equality and diversity? | no| Is staff training in this area encouraged? Are there dolls of a different colour in the play corner? | no| Recommendations After carrying out my assessment on my work placement I have come up with the following recommendation to improve equality and diversity in this preschool room. I recommend that the parking area be surfaced and marked clearly with a disabled parking place this is so important for a child or and adult with a disability to be encouraged to use this facility. As it stands this establishment would not be suitable for any such situation, out side or inside the pre-school.

The doors of standard size these need to be widened and ramps put in to accommodate any wheel chair or walking aid. This could be done and make all the difference in an easy and inexpensive way. The activities carried out are not suitable for children with physical disabilities, then there are no children present with these needs as the premises does not promote or accommodate the above in regards to access to the school. With structural improvements as I mentioned above it would be easy for the staff to carry out activities suitable for all.

There is one Polish child in my work placement and he is coping well with the language as he has no choice , he can become frustrated and I recommend that pictures of the bathroom, drinks, emotion pictures such as sad , happy, pain, be used for this child to make his life easier these pictures could be used until he learns how to express himself using the English language and I feel it wouldn’t take long for him to learn and a lot of frustration could be avoided, the same for the two little boys with speech difficulties these pictures and signs would be a god send to them to explain how there feeling in an easy way .

The little boy with eczema becomes very agitated and cannot express himself ,this results in him been corrected for bad behaviour ,this simple picture of a boy scratching himself would be easy to provide and explained to be used when he’s feeling uncomfortable. I recommend that admissions policies be in different launguages as this would make the setting more inviting to different cultures if this were done.

There are no lessons about minority groups families of a different social setting and I recommend that this be a weekly lesson for example week one on the travelling community , how they live and where they live , on Polish people , on single parent families , families being reared by their grand parents or guardians, black people , and families in different parts of the world , disabled parents, disabled children , children with glasses or speech difficulties the list is endless and so much could be thought in this weekly lesson to these little scholars to prepare them for the diverse world they are living in.

In this pre-school setting there is a copious selection of dolls and clothes to dress them in, the girls and boys love these dolls. I trawled through all the plastic figures and baby dolls and not one black doll was to be found I think this wrong. I recommend that all types of dolls be placed in this section as children learn through play. Vygotsky’s theory of child development is that “play provided foundations skills that are essential to social, personal and professional activities”.

I therefore think that the children can learn so much in relation to equality and diversity through play and by placing dolls of all types is a great way to teach them about difference, dolls with glasses, different hair types, different skin colour, and dolls that are fat and thin can really promote this important topic through play. I have done 10 weeks in my work placement whilst taking this module and I have observed the staff in relation to equality and diversity in a discreet way.

I feel this is an area that needs to be really improved on in this pre-school. There are children hailed as hero’s in this setting and they are little hero’s ,but the children that have speech or language difficulties are perceived in my eyes by the staff as being bold and boisterous and more work than the child who has no special needs and can cope with expressing themselves and can sail along socially.

Children choose where they want to be seated themselves and often there is a child and it seems to be the same child left out, the workers then appoint this child a seat as he is on his own, I feel this is unfair and the child goes through this ritual each morning this situation could be avoided by putting names on seats and no child would feel left out. Children are allowed to bring in their own toys and this causes other children to become uneasy and want the said toy , I recommend that toys that are bought in from home be placed in a box at the entrance door and the child can get it on the way home .

This way no child can feel different and conflict can be avoided between the children. I recommend that each of the staff here in turn need to up skill and be made to take this module. I know there are many things I wouldn’t have perceived as bias or stereotyping had I not be doing this module. I feel this should be insisted upon for all childcare workers and to be refreshed every 2 years. I feel the staff in this pre-school have become complacent and careless in relation to equality and diversity.

Through doing this exercise and listening to my tutor in class I feel I am well informed on this topic and can carry it into the workplace with a degree of excellence. Action plan for recommendations * I suggest that all staff members attend training to help then understand equality and diversity issues. Each staff member needs to have the same attitude so that they know how to deal with an issue if and when the need arises. Staff members need the empathy, understanding and skills to help the children achieve a positive sense of themselves and others. I suggest that the manager reviews the policy and procedures manual every 6 months. I would advise that she contact the county childcare committee to find out about new regulations and if anything needs to be changed in the policies and procedures manual. I would also advise the manager to discuss the policy and procedures manual at the next staff meeting * I suggest that even if the facility has no vacancy for a new staff member that they would consider someone from a different culture for relief staff.

They could advertise in the local papers and when interviewing them if there is anyone from a different culture they could ask them what new ideas they could bring to the setting from their culture. * I would advise staff that when parents start their children in the setting that they would discuss if they have any preferences or special requirements for their children for example: religious beliefs, if they would like their child not to participate in the morning prayer then this is ok and the child will not be made feel different or left out.

This I believe is very important. * I suggest that we make parents aware that we are serious about not permitting children bring their own toys in to the setting as this does cause conflict and it can be avoided , if the children bring in a toy it should be placed in a box in the entrance hall. If the setting wants to allow day when all the children can bring in one toy each this is fine as all the children are then on an equal footing. To obtain more diverse toys I advise the manager to ask the room leaders to put a list of toys that they think would be suitable for each room. The manager can then check these toys out at different stores or the different web sites. I advise that the facility make one of their existing toilets a disabled toilet. There is a small area at the side of the toilets not being used, this would allow them to make the end toilet a disabled toilet and fit a larger door. This could be done easily and not cost the earth. I would like to advise that each room leader put each child’s name on their chair. Each day move the chairs around so that everyday each child is sitting beside someone different and that no child is left out. This is something I feel strongly about as I have seen children being moved to accommodate a child that wont sit beside them , I believe this is very unfair and Is isolating little scholars in this setting .

I planned and carried out an activity with the children about children from different countries and how they play, and ooked at how they are educated the children loved this lesson on minority groups and families of a different social setting and I recommend that this be a weekly lesson for example week one on the travelling community , how they live and where they live , on Polish people , on single parent families , families being reared by their grand parents or guardians, black people , and families in different parts of the world , disabled parents, disabled children , children with glasses or speech difficulties the list is endless and so much could be thought in this weekly lesson to these little scholars to prepare them for the diverse world they are living in. I have enquired the cost for the parking area to be surfaced and marked clearly with a disabled parking place , and have left the details with the supervisor I hope this will be implemented this is so important for a child or and adult with a disability.  The doors of standard size these need to be widened and ramps put in to accommodate any wheel chair or walking aid. I have also had a costing done on this and it can be done in an easy and inexpensive way.

Ideas for Supporting Children’s Identity and Sense of Belonging *Ensure you have explored your own feelings about diversity and have reflected on your own cultural context.  Respect names, how they are pronounced and spelt. Ensure the environment depicts all children and backgrounds in the setting. Reflect the everyday reality of the child’s life (not out of context images) to support and validate his/her daily experiences. * Include or refer to aspects of all the children’s identities in activities: casual conversations, stories told and read, food, art, music and dramatic play props and themes. For example, facilitate children by giving opportunities to talk about different kinds of families and family structures. Some children may live with one parent, in both parents’ homes, with gay or lesbian parents, with a foster family, a stepparent, or with an extended family. Talk with children and devise activities around the ways in which people are the same as well as different. Children will feel more comfortable talking about matters like disability, skin colour, living in a trailer etc.  Look for opportunities to recognise a child’s individual skills, talents and abilities to encourage pride in his or her personal and cultural identity.

Find opportunities to tune into individual interests and strengths; caring for animals, speaking cant, knowledge of cars (e. g. a child with a disability, from a disadvantaged background, Traveller child).  Discourage any sense of superiority whereby a child may express that their way of life is ‘correct’ or preferred. Provide a wide range of positive role models in a variety of positions. This helps build confidence and a sense of possibilities for the future. Seeing negative images or no images of people sharing your background or ability can send negative messages and a child may reject his/her identity. * Be aware of the cultural and educational significance of the child’s first language. For example, while assisting the children in acquiring English/Irish as a second language, encourage parents to use their family language. MISSION STATEMENT AIMS: Barley hill aims to support the growth and development of each individual child providing an integrated, balanced, broad, stimulating and differentiated service.

To achieve this we work in partnership with parents, carer’s and children to provide a safe and secure environment, which enables children to be:  Respectful of themselves and others Happy and Confident Independent Compassionate and Caring Tolerant and Caring Curious and Creative Appreciative and Appreciated OBJECTIVES: To provide a safe, secure, stimulating environment which embraces all children and values their race, language, gender, age, disability, culture, class and religion. To value all children as individuals and appreciate their uniqueness  To value parents and carers as the primary educators of the child To have high expectations of ourselves and the children To ensure that all staff receive appropriate training and maintain high levels of practice  To develop practice which, is based on a philosophy of responsibility towards each other To experience creativity and imagination through the arts To recognise children as part of communities, for example, peer groups, families and wider society To develop a quality service this, meets the needs of parents, carers and children within our area. How personal, cultural identity attitudes and valued can potentially impact on bias, discrimination and prejudice in the ECCE setting. Every generation has the opportunity to choose or change which values and attitudes will be passed on to the next. In Ireland, early childhood carers and educators have a very important role to play in supporting all children in their developing sense of self. They must all continue to learn how to provide effective services to all children.

In order to learn how to be effective, they must reflect fully on our own values and thinking and assess how they affect our own practice. Diversity, when adults are effective, can be a very positive, enriching source of vitality and growth. When adults are not effective, diversity can be a source of conflict and hurt. Self-awareness is vital here and it includes recognising and understanding their intentions and expectations and being able to apply these insights within the childcare practice. Children learn very early that not everyone is treated fairly and this affects how they view the reality of difference. We know that it is not the differences which cause problems, but how we react to the differences.

Children learn from that reaction or response. Sioltas Principles Early childhood is a significant and distinct time in life that must be nurtured, respected, valued and supported in its own right. Early childhood, the period from birth to six years, is a significant and unique time in the life of every individual. Every child needs and has the right to positive experiences in early childhood. As with every other phase in life, positive supports and adequate resources are necessary to make the most of this period. Provision of such supports and resources should not be conditional on the expectations of the economy, society or other interests. The child’s individuality, strengths, rights and needs are central in the provision of quality early childhood experiences. The child is an active agent in her/his own development through her/his interactions with the world. These interactions are motivated by the individual child’s abilities, interests, previous experiences and desire for independence. Each child is a competent learner from birth and quality early years experiences can support each child to realise their full potential. Provision of these experiences must reflect and support the child’s strengths, needs and interests.

Children have the right to be listened to and have their views on issues that affect them heard, valued and responded to. Parents are the primary educators of the child and have a pre-eminent role in promoting her/his well-being, learning and development. Quality early childhood care and education must value and support the role of parents. Open, honest and respectful partnership with parents is essential in promoting the best interests of the child. Mutual partnership contributes to establishing harmony and continuity between the diverse environments the child experiences in the early years. The development of connections and interactions between the early childhood setting, parents, the extended family and the wider community also adds to the enrichment of early childhood experiences by reflecting the environment in which the child lives and grows. Responsive, sensitive and reciprocal relationships, which are consistent over time, are essential to the well-being, learning and development of the young child. The relationships that the child forms within her/his immediate and extended environment from birth will significantly influence her/his well-being, development and learning. These relationships are two-way and include adults, peers, family and the extended community. Positive relationships, which are secure, responsive and respectful and which provide consistency and continuity over time, are the cornerstone of the child’s well-being. Equality is an essential characteristic of quality early childhood care and education.

Equality, as articulated in Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and in the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004, is a fundamental characteristic of quality early childhood care and education provision. It is a critical prerequisite for supporting the optimal development of all children in Ireland. It requires that the individual needs and abilities of each child are recognised and supported from birth towards the realisation of her/his unique potential. This means that all children should be able to gain access to, participate in, and benefit from early years services on an equal basis. Quality early childhood settings acknowledge and respect diversity and ensure that all children and families have their individual, personal, cultural and linguistic identity validated.

Diversity is a term which is generally used to describe differences in individuals by virtue of gender, age, skin colour, language, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, religion, race or other background factors such as family structure, economic circumstances, etc. Quality early childhood environments should demonstrate respect for diversity through promoting a sense of belonging for all children within the cultural heritage of Ireland. They should also provide rich and varied experiences which will support children’s ability to value social and cultural diversity. * The physical environment of the young child has a direct impact on her/his well-being, learning and development. The child’s experiences in early childhood are positively enhanced by interactions with a broad range of environments.

These include the indoor and outdoor, built and natural, home and out-of-home environments. The environment should be high quality and should extend and enrich the child’s development and learning. These experiences stimulate curiosity, foster independence and promote a sense of belonging. The development of respect for the environment will also result from such experiences. * The safety, welfare and well-being of all children must be protected and promoted in all early childhood environments. The promotion of child well-being is a characteristic of a quality environment. This involves the protection of each child from harmful experiences and the promotion of child welfare.

Additionally, the opportunity to form trusting relationships with adults and other children is a key characteristic of quality. Promotion of safety should not prevent the child from having a rich and varied array of experiences in line with her/his age and stage of development. *The role of the adult in providing quality early childhood experiences is fundamental. Quality early childhood practice is built upon the unique role of the adult. The competencies, qualifications, dispositions and experience of adults, in addition to their capacity to reflect upon their role, are essential in supporting and ensuring quality experiences for each child. This demanding and central role in the life of the young child needs to be appropriately resourced, supported and valued. The provision of quality early childhood experiences requires cooperation, communication and mutual respect. Teamwork is a vital component of quality in early childhood care and education. It is the expression of cooperative, coordinated practice in any setting. Shared knowledge and understanding, clearly communicated among the team within the setting; with and among other professionals involved with the child; and with the parents is a prerequisite of quality practice and reflects a “whole-child perspective”. This also ensures the promotion of respectful working relationships among all adults supporting the well-being, learning and development of the child.

Such teamwork, coordination and communication must be valued, supported and resourced by an appropriate infrastructure at local, regional and national levels. * Pedagogy in early childhood is expressed by curricula or programmes of activities which take a holistic approach to the development and learning of the child and reflect the inseparable nature of care and education. Pedagogy is a term that is used to refer to the whole range of interactions which support the child’s development. It takes a holistic approach by embracing both care and education. It acknowledges the wide range of relationships and experiences within which development takes place and recognises the connections between them. It also supports the concept of the child as an active learner.

Such pedagogy must be supported within a flexible and dynamic framework that addresses the learning potential of the ‘whole child. ’ Furthermore, it requires that early childhood practitioners are adequately prepared and supported for its implementation. Play is central to the well-being, development and learning of the young child. Play is an important medium through which the child interacts with, explores and makes sense of the world around her/him. These interactions with, for example, other children, adults, materials, events and ideas, are key to the child’s well-being, development and learning. Play is a source of joy and fulfilment for the child.

It provides an important context and opportunity to enhance and optimise quality early childhood experiences. As such, play will be a primary focus in quality early childhood settings. Sioltas Standards * Standard 1: Rights of the child Ensuring that each child’s rights are met requires that she/he is enabled to exercise choice and to use initiative as an active participant and partner in her/his own development and learning. * Standard 2: Environments Enriching environments, both indoor and outdoor (including materials and equipment) are well maintained, safe, available, accessible, adaptable, developmentally appropriate, and offer a variety of challenging and stimulating experiences. * Standard 3: Parents and Families

Valuing and involving parents and families requires a proactive partnership approach evidenced by a range of clearly stated, accessible and implemented processes, policies and procedures. * Standard 4: Consultation Ensuring inclusive decision-making requires consultation that promotes participation and seeks out, listens to and acts upon the views and opinions of children, parents and staff, and other stakeholders, as appropriate. Standard 5: Interactions Fostering constructive interactions (child/child, child/adult and adult/adult) requires explicit policies, procedures and practice that emphasise the value of process and are based on mutual respect, equal partnership and sensitivity.

Promoting play requires that each child has ample time to engage in freely available and accessible, developmentally appropriate and well-resourced opportunities for exploration, creativity and ‘meaning making’ in the company of other children, with participating and supportive adults and alone, where appropriate. Curriculum Encouraging each child’s holistic development and learning requires the implementation of a verifiable, broad-based, documented and flexible curriculum or programme.  Standard 8: Planning and Evaluation Enriching and informing all aspects of practice within the setting requires cycles of observation, planning, action and evaluation, undertaken on a regular basis.

Promoting the health and welfare of the child requires protection from harm, provision of nutritious food, appropriate opportunities for rest, and secure relationships characterised by trust and respect. * Standard 10: Organisation Organising and managing resources effectively requires an agreed written philosophy, supported by clearly communicated policies and procedures to guide and determine practice. * Standard 11: Professional Practice Practicing in a professional manner requires that individuals have skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes appropriate to their role and responsibility within the setting. In addition, it requires regular reflection upon practice and engagement in supported, ongoing professional development.

Communicating effectively in the best interests of the child requires policies, procedures and actions that promote the proactive sharing of knowledge and information among appropriate stakeholders, with respect and confidentiality. Transitions Ensuring continuity of experiences for children requires policies, procedures and practice that promote sensitive management of transitions, consistency in key relationships, liaison within and between settings, the keeping and transfer of relevant information (with parental consent), and the close involvement of parents and, where appropriate, relevant professionals. * Standard 14: Identity and Belonging

Promoting positive identities and a strong sense of belonging requires clearly defined policies, procedures and practice that empower every child and adult to develop a confident self- and group identity, and to have a positive understanding and regard for the identity and rights of others. * Standard 15: Legislation and Regulation Being compliant requires that all relevant regulations and legislative requirements are met or exceeded. Involvement Promoting community involvement requires the establishment of networks and connections evidenced by policies, procedures and actions which extend and support all adult’s and children’s engagement with the wider community. Prejudice The word prejudice refers to prejudgment: i. e. making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case.

In recent times, the word has come to be most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavourable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality or other personal characteristics. It is a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence. ” Discrimination Discrimination is the prejudicial and/or distinguishing treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category, “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated. [1] It involves the group’s initial reaction or interaction, influencing the individual’s actual behavior towards the group or the group leader, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making. Discriminatory traditions, policies, ideas, practices, and laws exist in many countries and institutions in every part of the world, even in ones where discrimination is generally looked down upon. In some places, controversial attempts such as quotas have been used to redress negative effects of discrimination—but have sometimes been called reverse discrimination themselves. Racism

Racism is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior or superior. The exact definition of racism is controversial both because there is little scholarly agreement about the meaning of the concept “race”, and because there is also little agreement about what does and doesn’t constitute discrimination. Critics argue that the term is applied differentially, with a focus on such prejudices by whites and defining mere observations of racial differences as racism. Some definitions would have it that any assumption that a person’s behavior would be influenced by their racial categorization is racist, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful or pejorative. Other definitions only include consciously malignant forms of discrimination. Sexism Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex. Sexist attitudes may stem from traditional stereotypes of gender roles, and may include the belief that a person of one sex is intrinsically superior to a person of the other. A job applicant may face discriminatory hiring practices, or (if hired) receive unequal compensation or treatment compared to that of their opposite-sex peers. Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape and other forms of sexual violence Ableism

Ableism is a form of discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities. It is known by many names, including disability discrimination, physicalism, handicapism, and disability oppression. It is also sometimes known as disablism, although there is some dispute as to whether ableism and disablism are synonymous, and some people within disability rights circles find the latter term’s use inaccurate. Discrimination faced by those who have or are perceived to have a mental disorder is sometimes called mentalism rather than ableism. These are some simple fun sample pictures that could help a child with a language barrier or speech problems communicate…. Teacher I am itchy. Teacher I need the toilet. Teacher I feel sad. I am sorry. I feel afraid. I feel happy Teacher I am cold. Teacher I am too warm. Some posters and pictures that could demonstrate diversity in a fun way. There are so many books toys projects and pictures available at the touch of a button every pr-school setting should be able to promote and teach equality and diversity in a simple fun way.


  1. http://www. dcya. gov. ie/documents/childcare/diversity_and_equality. pdf http://www. siolta.
  2. ie/media/pdfs/Research%20Digest%20-%20Identity%20and%20Belonging.
  3. pdf http://www. cecde. ie/english/pdf/Questions%20of%20Quality/Murray. pdf Handouts from class tutor Mary Kinsella

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Equality and Diversity in Childcare. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/equality-and-diversity-in-childcare/