Nursery Managers Book Club: 50 Fantastic Ideas to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion
In this month's Nursery Managers Book Club, NMT features editor Charlotte Goddard finds out how settings can support children – and staff – to celebrate their similarities and differences.
As the world seems to be more divided than ever, it becomes ever more vital to build an inclusive society that celebrates diversity rather than fearing it. Nursery managers will know that the best place to start building inclusion, tackling prejudice and challenging inequality is in the early years.
In its Early Years Inspection Framework, Ofsted says that to achieve a 'Good' rating, nursery practitioners must “value and promote equality and diversity”. It also refers to “developing children’s understanding and appreciation of diversity; celebrating what we have in common; and routinely challenging stereotypical behaviours and promoting respect for different people.”
For this month's Nursery Managers Book Club, I have read 50 Fantastic Ideas to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion. In this very practical book, June O’Sullivan, chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation, and nursery manager Nausheen Khan draw on their wide experience and share 50 activities that settings can deliver to promote diversity and inclusion.
The activities are set out in a way that practitioners can quickly understand what is needed, what to do and how to extend the learning.
With a book like this, there is always a danger that nurseries could see the activities as something they can simply bolt on to their daily provision in order to tick a box. However, the authors stress in their introduction that diversity and inclusion must be embedded into the culture and values of a setting.
To this end, in addition to activities for practitioners to carry out with children, there is a section on building links with the community and another on encouraging staff to listen and think. For example, the “web of connectivity” activity uses a ball of wool to encourage staff to build connections with their colleagues.
Staff can sometimes feel unsure about equality and diversity, shying away from the topic for fear of getting things wrong, so the book's staff section is particularly key for nursery managers looking to embed these values into their setting. I would have liked more activities in this section: in fact, this could be the basis for a further book in the series!
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