Equality and Diversity in Childcare

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Introduction
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.

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 (Vandenbroeck, 2000). 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,...
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