Celebrating diversity

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This image was one of the selection of valentine’s day themed posts that came up in my pinterest feed over the last couple of days and it has got me thinking…

  • Is valentine’s day an appropriate celebration for children?
  • Is the way we celebrate about the children or about the adults thinking it is cute?
  • What other celebrations do services do throughout the year?
  • Do those celebrations stem from the children’s interests and needs?

We are asked to look at culture and diversity in numerous parts of the NQF…
NQS Element 1.1.2 – Each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program 
EYLF Principle –  Respect for diversity
EYLF Practice – Cultural competence
EYLF Learning Outcome 2 – Children are connected with and contribute to their world

There are numerous approaches to celebrating diversity and these ways do not need to focus on the full calendar of special days and weeks throughout the year.
How many of the celebrations in your service do you actually feel confident in explaining the cultural influences behind the celebration?
Do you celebrate all from the calendar or do you pick and choose?
How do you choose which ones to celebrate – who decides?
Do you have these conversations, or just do a craft activity and move on?
How do you embrace cultural diversity outside of these special days?

If you look closer in the NQF you will also find the following…
NQS Element 1.1.3 – The program, including routines, is organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning
NQS Element 1.1.6 – Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions and to influence events and their world
NQS Element 1.2.3 – Critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is regularly used to implement the program
NQS Element 5.1.2 – Every child is able to engage with educators in meaningful, open interactions that support the acquisition of skills for life and learning
NQS Element 5.2.3 – The dignity and the rights of every child are maintained at all times
NQS Element 6.2.1 – The expertise of families is recognised and they share in decision making about their child’s learning and wellbeing
NQS Element 6.3.4 – The service builds relationships and engages with the local community

Now I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way, I’m asking you to reflect on your way of celebrating diversity and culture and seeing whether it includes this second set of NQS elements.

Are the children learning anything from the activities provided, or do they have to leave their learning to participate in a structured craft activity?
Do children have control over the way cultural celebrations are implemented? Is their sense of agency considered?
Do the educators reflect on how they implement celebrations and whether these are beneficial to children’s learning and development, or is it the same every year?
Do the educators feel confident and knowledgeable enough to have “meaningful, open interactions”?
Are the families included in the celebrations of their culture, drawing on their expertise and what is appropriate to celebrate with children? Do the families want certain celebrations to occur?
Do you allow the local community to help support these celebrations drawing on information, support and guidance to help ensure celebrations are meaningful?

Hopefully these questions have provided a thinking point to reflect on and consider how your practices meet the NQF. If there is anything I can help with, or you would like further training on this for your service, please let me know.

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