Diversity refers to our differences such as culture, beliefs, values, views and life experiences. The concept of diversity is to accept, respect and embrace our differences. When people with these differences unite and share the same group or organization we see a diverse environment. Working in a childcare setting, we have the potential to work with an abundance of diversity. This can be very rewarding but can also pose challenges. Positively, we have the opportunity to promote the sense of individuality, sense of pride and belonging by providing a safe and nurturing environment.
Discussing each other’s differences is a great way to learn and become aware of the differences in the world. One example of promoting diversity is to display the word “welcome” on the door in all first languages spoken in that classroom or even learning how to say hello in each language. The challenges are learning how ensure equality and eliminate discrimination. Introducing children at an early age to diversity will have an impact on their acceptance of others who are different from them.
Diversity can also come in the form of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities and political beliefs. Equality Equality is the term for equal opportunities. Whilst supporting diversity and respecting differences everyone is offered the same services and programs. All children and families have an equal chance and equal right to participate or not to participate regardless of any differences such as physical disabilities or cultural beliefs. Practitioners have a duty to ensure that there is equality in their classroom.
A child who has a learning disability should not be stereotyped with assumptions that he or she is not capable and therefor does not receive equal opportunity in classroom activities. Discrimination is the result of not practicing equality, for example, a child cannot be left out of a school outing because they don’t have transport to accommodate his wheel chair. Discrimination due to inequality can be very detrimental to a child’s emotional well being. A child can develop low-self esteem, low confidence, feel unwanted and loose sense of belonging.
The equality act of 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in organizations and society. Some provisions relating to disability include extending protection against indirect discrimination to disability and harmonizing the thresholds for the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. This act will help to protect the children in school settings and into adulthood. Reference: Equality Act 2010: guidance, publishes 27 February 2013, https://www. gov. uk/equality-act-2010-guidance Inclusion Inclusion is the practice that every need is met for every student in their learning setting.
Inclusive education allows children with disabilities to learn along side children without disabilities. This type of educational practice differs from having children with special needs secluded to special schools and classrooms. It allows children with disabilities to feel as an equal member of the classroom, which will build self-confidence and teach social skills. Schools need to ensure that they meet all needs by having resources and equipment to aid the students and help them to join as many activities as possible.
For example braille books for children who are blind, providing wide doors, ramps and disabled toilets, speech therapist and physical therapist. When children have the opportunity to use these services they will more likely achieve their educational goals and feel less different from their peers. Practitioners could aid children in their classrooms by learning as much as possible about any disability a child in their care has, for example if a child in their classroom is hearing impaired, learning a few basic sign language words such as “lunch” “outside” “toilet” could help the child feel more part of the classroom’s daily flow.
Reference: Wikipedia, Inclusion (education), 22 October 2013, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Inclusion_(education) Participation Participation is the act of participating and being involved in activities, decisions, planning and sharing. Participation is important for the children as well as the parents in school settings. When parents and children are involved in decision-making it allows them to feel connected to the school and feel like their voice is being heard and wishes met.
Children feel that their opinions and feelings matter, this is important to social skill development, as they will feel apart of the school community. Children who participate in school activities such as sports gain self-confidence and team building skills. Communication skills improve, stress is relieved and friendships build as children learn to trust and depend on their peers. Supporting participation could be to invite parents into the class to share their child’s favorite storybook from home and be a part of that day’s circle time.
The child will gain a sense of pride as they sit beside their parent as they contribute to circle time. Another example is the children could take turns bringing home a “letter bag” where they find objects from around their home that begin with the “letter of the week”. The child and parent can work together finding the objects and the child can share it in class the following day. Reference: Participation works partnership, http://www. participationworks. org. uk/topics/education