I is for Inclusivity – The ABC of Early Years Education
One of the guiding principles that should shape practice in early years settings is around child uniqueness.
The EYFS states, “Every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident, and self-assured.”
From race to ethnicity to culture, there are different areas of inclusion for early years professionals to be aware of. They are intrinsically connected with self-esteem, self-worth, self-value, and our identity – all of which contribute to a person’s sense of belonging.
It’s this sense of belonging and celebration of our differences, that we should be trying to achieve.
For early years educators, inclusion is recognising that children are so multifaceted, multicultural, and multilingual and isn’t viewing each of them through a single lens.
A good place to start is to make sure that race, ethnicity, and culture are a part of the big daily conversation your setting is having. And this should reflect the range of children attending the setting – taking into account their cultural and linguistic backgrounds and their life experiences.
Sometimes these conversations aren’t taking place across the sector because we’re not asking the right questions.
Consider what questions are being asked in your setting and what information is being collected about the children and families.
“Parental engagement is crucial for inclusion.”
The best place to start to find out more about the children in your care is to speak to their families. Getting to know them on a deeper, more personal level is vital for building those trustful relationships. If parents feel safe in your setting, they will share more information and ‘be’ themselves.
Ultimately, embedding good, inclusive practice is important – as is reviewing it regularly.
You don’t have to invent the audit tools, they already exist – like this one.
This will allow you to create a very simple action plan around inclusivity, race, ethnicity, and culture, and link it up with everything else you’re doing so you’re not adding to your load – it’s threaded in with what exists.