Reflecting on inclusion

There are so many reasons children could struggle to fit into a program in an early childhood education and care service. This could be because of gender, age, race, nationality, physical or cognitive ability. Sadly we tend to subconsciously work within our existing biases. These biases come from the way we were raised, our community’s culture, the media, and marketing. All of this is impacting the way we think and the way we interact with those around us.

Here are some images that will help you understand how these biases form without us realising it…

 Amazing Fun for Boys!!:   

Our biases shape the way we interact with children and the types of expectations we have for them. That elderly people belong in nursing homes. That boys and girls are limited to certain paths in life and choices of activities. That men are bosses. That children are naughty and need to be handled. That different cultures are something to be celebrated once a year.

Before we can create a truly inclusive program we need to look at our current program and service culture and reflect on whether there are any subconscious biases occurring we didn’t realise. We should be reflecting on what messages our current practices sends to the children and families we work with. Are we being truly inclusive and supporting everyone to the best of our abilities?

If you would like to know more about inclusive practice and how to meet the 29 different elements of the NQS that relate to inclusion then please consider coming to my upcoming webinar on May 18th Exploring Equity  to find out practical solutions and reflection points to guide you on your journey.

Exploring equity

 

 

 

 

 

Individuality and the NQF

There are a lot of people out there with a lot of strong opinions about how to implement the Learning Frameworks and the NQS in services. People who are quick to judge other people’s approaches and people who are adamant that the way they do things is the right way. The luxury of the NQF (NQS, Learning Framework and regulations) is that there is no right way, there is no one way, the NQF is not prescriptive. So long as you are working towards the same goal, meeting the requirements, the how will look different to everyone.

Be stubborn about your posts and flexible about your methods:

The EYLF say that “It guides educators in their curriculum decision making and assists in planning, implementing and evaluating quality in early childhood settings. It also underpins the implementation of more specific curriculum relevant to each local community and early childhood setting.
The Framework is designed to inspire conversations, improve communication and provide a common language about young children’s learning among children themselves, their families, the broader community, early childhood educators and other professionals.”  (Belonging, Being Becoming p.8)

No two services are the same, they all have different children, educators, families and communities. Therefore how can 2 services do exactly the same programs and routines? The regulations have even become less prescriptive, because of the understanding that different services have different constraints and resources, which allows for flexibility and independent decision making on how to meet the regulations in your service.

.:

The NQS is flexible enough to allow for individual service decision making on what works and allows you to meet the elements within it. A mobile service in a remote location which operates out of a local hall and does not have a permanent location or consistency between children enrolled can not, and should not, be expected to run the same as an office based service in the middle of a large city. Having a national framework for the first time means that there has to be an assumption that there will be differences between states and territories who have operated somewhat independently up until recently.

The key to implementing the NQF is not finding fault within what other people do in their services, it is looking at what other people are doing and then reflecting on whether or not that would be suitable for our own service. The key to the NQF is looking internally and reflecting on whether our practices work for our service, and allow each child, family member and educator to reach their full potential. Here are some reflective questions that might help with this…

  • Is what we do in our service complying with the regulations and elements of the NQS?
  • Do the children in our service have opportunities to engage with the program and develop in skills and knowledge across a range of areas?
  • Are the educators in our service being challenged to reach their full potential on a daily basis?
  • Does our service have ways for our families to engage with our program in a meaningful way?
  • Is there something another service is doing that could enhance what we do in our service?

Think before you speak:

Remember that we are all on our own journeys and hopefully trying to do our best every day. The point of networking should be to support and encourage those on a different journey to us, and use suggestions as a reflective moment. We could consider whether it would work in our service, be suitable for our service, or whether we are further along in our journey than others, in which case you can use it as a reflective moment on how far you have come. Networking not about bringing other people down for their efforts and criticising others for being at a different spot in their journey than where we are.

Days like this I am just happy if I can sit upright, speed certainly doesn't matter!:

If you would like help with your journey then please feel free to get in touch with rachel@rare.support or visit www.rare.support/store to see what training opportunities and support documents are available.

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips, ideas and upcoming events subscribe here http://eepurl.com/b7KQHT