Equal Opportunities in a Diverse Society - Multiculturalism
Childminders work in a diverse society and this should be reflected in the care that they give.
In standard 9 of the new National Standards, Equal Opportunities, it states that the registered person and staff must actively promote equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice for all children. Children have the right to feel valued and be free from discrimination. Childminders can achieve this by:
- valuing each child's individuality
- challenging racist and discriminatory remarks, attitudes and behavior from children or adults
- finding out about family customs and beliefs, dietary requirements, dress code, hair and skin care, help required with toilet and washing
- providing activities to help children appreciate and value each others similarities and differences
- providing play materials which reflect diversity such as books and puzzles which show positive images of boys and girls and men and women from a variety of cultural backgrounds and varying needs.
Practitioners need to provide relevant learning and development opportunities and set realistic and challenging expectations to meet the diverse needs of children. Practitioners plan to meet the needs of both boys and girls, children with disabilities, children from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups including Travelers, refugees and asylum seekers, and children from different linguistic backgrounds.
In order to meet children's diverse needs childminders should, provide a safe and supportive learning environment, free from harassment, in which the contribution of all children is valued and where racial, religious, disability and gender stereotypes are challenged. Materials should positively reflect diversity.
Children should be given opportunities to become aware of diversity in customs and cultures.
Gaining a knowledge and understanding of their own culture and community helps children develop a sense of belonging and strong self image. Each child has a culture defined by their community and more uniquely by their family. Role play provides an effective environment where children can explore their own culture and appreciate the similarities and differences in those others. A positive self-image and high self esteem gives children the confidence and security to make the most opportunities to communicate effectively and to explore the world around them.
Childminders can provide a diversity of insight into faiths, cultures, history, and places, for example when cooking or when visiting places such as the synagogue or market. Their on going involvement ensures children learn from the breadth of childminders experience and perceptions.
The breadth of children's cultural and religious experiences should be reflected in the resources, for example cooking utensils, clothes, toys and range of food available.
Childminders can introduce children to a range of cultures and religions, for example tell stories, listen to music, dance, eat foods from different cultures, and use resources in role play that reflect a variety of cultures, such as clothes, cooking implements, vegetables, badges, symbols, candles and toys. Look at videos of the cultures of children within the setting and other cultures outside children's experiences, this helps children gain awareness of the cultures and belief of others.
As children begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people the childminder may like to look at books that show different languages, dress and customs. Deepen children's knowledge of cultures and beliefs, for example by looking at books, listening to simple stories in different languages, handling artifacts, and visiting local places of worship and cultural centers.
The desirable learning outcome is: Children are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and show respect for people of other cultures and beliefs. they respond to relevant cultural and religious events and show a range of feelings such as wonder, joy or sorrow in response to their experiences of the world.
Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage - Commission for Racial Equality 1989, 'Cradle to Grave' states all providers must be aware that:
- multicultural education is an entitlement for everyone;
- children from all ethnic groups should be regarded as representing the rich diversity of the community and wider society
- children need to develop a positive self image and all adults involved in their care and education must value their ethnic background, cultural heritage and their religion
- multicultural education is about attitudes and it is always linked with an antiracist philosophy
curriculum guidance for foundation stage
Personal and social development Nursery Education - Desirable Learning Outcomes, SCAA 1995