Explain model of practice that you use in the school that underpin equality, diversity and inclusion in your own area of responsibility?
Equality is to treat everyone as individuals regardless of their race, colour, gender, sexual preferences, religion, disabilities and culture. We expect everyone to be treated with respect, fairly and everyone to be presented with the same opportunities. At the Nursery we have many ways of ensuring that, families, children and staff are treated as per above. We have our equality policy that is regularly reviewed to incorporate any minority groups who we may feel have been overlooked. A policy is a working document and is subject to regular change and updated to incorporate any areas overlooked, we do this with all our policies. To understand diversity is relayed to people that they are the same but unique, to recognise that everyone learns in different ways, that their skills are celebrated and encouraged, and their achievements recognised. It is our intention that individuals feel valued and empowered to learn and succeed.
In my everyday working life at the Nursery I meet Parents, children, staff, visitors, and other professions. It is my goal and expectations that all these people are treated respectfully, fairly and are comfortable coming to the nursery. Within our nursery the staff are made aware of the importance of being good role models and all are made aware of the policy.
Equal Opportunity Act
Sex discrimination act
We communicate the policy through staff meetings and staff newsletters.
The nursery is accessible to all children and families in the local community and further afield and this is reflected in our admissions policy. Our recruitment of staff and recruitment folder has recently been tightened up to model a fairer staff selection process. Application forms are sent to every candidate, the forms do not contain any questions that may be considered discriminatory, and an Equal Opportunity monitoring form is sent out with the application form. All new and current staff are aware of the mandatory training and all are offered it. Further training is available to all staff members should they need to do it, they chose the courses that will benefit their position within the Nursery. The children are encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards children who are different to them. The staff strive to develop the children’s critical thinking. Some of the ways we do this is by making the children feel good about themselves, we have many positive re-enforcement strategies within the nursery. For example stickers; children love a sticker, lots of praise when a child achieves something; we all love praise. Children are encouraged to have access to all the toys and equipment, we try not to display stereotypical pictures and ensure children whose first language is not English have good access to all the activities and their parents have a good understanding of our policies and procedures.
Analyse the potential effects of barriers to equality and inclusion in own are of responsibility?
In our quest to bring our children up in a fair and equal World we need to combat many prejudices against people and their preconceived ideas about what people from different groups, which are considered minorities, might experience or be capable of. With changes people with disabilities would be able to have access to many more areas of the World, with proper education the bridge across cultural differences would narrow, if we respected the older work colleague and embraced their skills instead of looking at the age on their birth certificate and thinking they are outdated or “of no use now!” The gender gaps would lessen if we raised children throughout their lives with the innocence they have when they are born or in their Early Years, looking at the World through the eyes of a young child is a much more simplistic and accepting place. Often if we stopped more and listened to children they would educate the educators. When do children/people start learning these prejudices?
The effects of someone being constantly put down or ignored because of what other people think they know or are capable of is extremely debilitating, We want to break down the barriers of prejudice and stamp a positive footprint on the child’s life that would make them have a good start for the future. Constantly condemning someone has a negative effect on them for all their lives and stops them from reaching their full potential. Lack of confidence and belief in oneself is one of the main harm that is caused through not accepting someone for who they are, constant put downs and negatives chart a lifetime of, “Can’t do” attitude. It is very important to nurture a child’s whole being, we constantly worry about children being physically healthy but sometimes their mental health is overlooked, how they feel about themselves inside determines what they believe they can achieve. If a child is constantly criticised, they will grow up with a very negative attitude and possibly in the end not bother to even try, we don’t want the children to grow up feeling apprehensive or thinking they aren’t good enough. As adults and Early Years Educators it is our responsibility to try and teach children to have tolerance of one another, to accept we all have great worth, we need to give children encouragement to let the beautiful bubble of opportunity inside them burst and be free and have the confidence to feel like they can change the World. They are our future and it is essential we teach them how to love and like themselves so that can filter onto others. As children and within our setting we try to lead by example and be good role models, tolerance of each other is what we try and endorse throughout the Nursery. We praise each child’s goals and achievements no matter how small in the hope that later in their lives they will feel confident to try bigger things and be able to live in a society free from preconceived ideas. The future of this world is in the hands of these children, it is our responsibility to teach them about living peacefully with each other. As manager of quite a small but busy setting it is important for me to ensure that each child is treated fairly and equal. We do this by regularly updating training on equality and intervening in any unacceptable comments. It is very difficult where I am based to encourage equality as we are in a very rural, white, middle classed area but we try and make the environment as diverse as possible. We have policies and procedures in place to combat these barriers as much as possible. We find though that we could learn a lot from the children just by listening to them. Children of this age don’t really notice differences in people. They are innocent. We underestimate what we can learn from these children so young. They can play side by side with someone who doesn’t speak English, with no barriers. There is a lot to be said for just leaving them and letting them play without intervention and making up their own ways of doing things. We relay what we are doing at the nursery to the parents through regular newsletters, e-mails and we are constantly assessing the areas, equipment and planning to make sure we have this covered. Also, in my capacity as manager, I am responsible for ensuring that all the children, their families and members of staff and anyone else who I am working with are treated with equally, with respect, and dignity. There are so many pieces of legislation that is trying to eradicate these barriers in the workplace.
Analyse the impact of legislation and policy initiatives on the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion in own area of responsibility,
As a manager it is my responsibility to place staff in the areas they are going to be the best performer in and where barriers don’t start to form. As my nursery is quite a small nursery and the team is very good we all get along most of the time, but I have worked in other nurseries before where the team have very much been fragmented. People must be put in areas that suit their skill set, I can think of one staff member who would not be able to work in baby room long term because she is too noisy and outgoing. In the same vein I have another girl who is quiet and would not flourish in pre-school she would be better off in babies. When placing staff, I also consider age, each age group has a different general approach to work which can lead to conflict, respect for one another is something I also advocate. Older workers can sometimes describe younger workers as slackers and younger workers may describe older members as out of touch. Sometimes older people may not be able to carry out tasks as energetically as their younger counterpart. I employ a vast age range of people, from teenage apprentices to grandmothers, so they are placed equally in each area. Unfortunately, due to our outside factors like, location, area and profession we do not get that many diverse people applying for jobs and due to the bad pay not that many men come forward and I do think there is a stigma against some men working in childcare, I would personally be delighted for a man to apply for a job at the nursery to balance this out I have outside agencies come into the nursery, like sports coaches and football coaches and these generally are men but I think childcare could do with far more men in posts.
We have regular supervisions, and this can sometimes throw up concerns and barriers about how people are feeling about something which might result in the ability to do their jobs effectively.
I find with equality issues there is usually two sides to the problem. Mainly, misunderstanding and myths and poor education. Mental health and anxiety in an individual was top of the list in this recent round of supervisions. It seems that outside influences and personal issues are a high factor in an employee’s wellbeing. Someone struggling to do their job because of personal issues may not be understood by other employees and they may face discrimination because other members assuming something about a person that isn’t true. By respectful management and being an approachable manager, it is hoped that during these staff supervisions they can, “Open Up” so that any bullying or misunderstanding can be dealt with. Another thing that may cause barriers is staff with a disability, they may have lived a life of barriers, so their self-esteem may already be very low, other staff members with good intention may want to help their colleague, which may be viewed as patronising, from the other side of the coin. The staff member may feel offended if their colleagues offered help causing isolation again on the other side of the coin people could be embarrassed to approach that staff member for fear of saying something they shouldn’t. People who have different faiths and beliefs who may have to take time off or time out during a day to carry out religious tasks. This may cause barriers to the staff who think it is unfair for them to work without these breaks.
Your centre policies.
Analyse how your procedures promote equality and inclusion or do they reinforce discrimination and exclusion in your department? Evaluate your policy.
We ensure all the equipment is open and available to each child, if a boy wants to wear a princess dress or a girl play with cars that is fine. The girls do football and golf and the boys do dance and drama. I personally don’t understand why an issue must be made from any of it. For example: My daughter sat in the middle of a boys footie game when she was 11 with her friends and stopped the game when she was told she was too old to participate in the game as girls weren’t allowed in that league. She played in the next one. She fought in a boy’s karate match when she was about 13 and beat everyone and walked off with gold after being told she couldn’t compete as she might get hurt fighting boys. Yes, she could have been hurt but it taught her to fight for what she wants, and it was a good lesson for her character to learn that anything she wants has to be fought for.
I think there is far too much legislation in life these days. We need better education and not more legislation. I don’t honestly believe there is ever going to be a completely equal society. This constant legislation just opens a can of worms and everyone tries to legislate for fairness but all it does is end up causing more inequality for some small minority somewhere else, who now feel discriminated against. People shouldn’t be so sensitive and should deal with situations themselves. People shouldn’t be legislated to respect someone, it should be something that comes with their up-bringing and education. So, we have got to ask ourselves, once again. Is all this legislation they have for bringing up children working? If they are producing a nation of disrespectful, undisciplined and unruly children. Who know their rights and use it to break the law. When I was younger my parents were the boss of me and I respected them for that. They knew how to teach me right from wrong, I had a reverent fear of authority which many children do not seem to have these days.
The policy is evaluated regularly and updated with any new areas what has happened since the last review. We will continue to develop the policy so that we can be sure everyone is included in everything we do. We will keep updated with changes in the legislation that make up our main policy. We will ensure that the staff are committed and passionate about the children. Providing we have the space and staff we will continue being flexible and helpful to all the parents who come through our nursery. Our planning will reflect the individual needs of the children in our care and they will continue to be valued. It is important to us that we work closely with parents and carers and communicate any concerns and difficulties as professionally as possible to outside agencies and parents.
Describe ethical dilemmas that may arise in own area of responsibility when balancing individually rights and duty of care.
I am always aware of the importance of having a high level of good quality care in the nursery. I go above and beyond to ensure the children and families and staff in my care are treated, where possible, with respect, fairly and are safe from harm. Staff training is very important and communication to the staff what is expected of them. Ethical dilemmas. I take the responsibility of each child in my care very seriously. The decision to talk to a parent about their child if we have a concern, or about their progress is backed up by evidence collected over a period. I think most decisions I make during my day has some sort of ethical notion to it. In a work place with many different personalities sometimes people clash with each other. Their personalities may be so different. That person should not spread her opinion and the way she feels to anyone other than her line manager. We do try to shut any comments like this down as it spreads negativity and creates barriers. In the same way that we hear children talking we talk to them about any comments we hear that aren’t equal or ethical. We do find that most children of our age group have not developed these barriers yet. We work very hard to respect the parents’ wishes. When the children start on their first settle the parent completes a care plan with their child’s care plan on it, we regularly update this document as children change rapidly, we do not change anything until we are instructed to in writing from the parent or carer. We have a child whose parents do not like her eating our food and off our plates. This is because she has a totally sugar free diet and all her food is 100% organic, I don’t know why she can’t use our plates. Some of the staff constantly complain about this, and at 3 years old is still breast fed. This is the parent’s choice, so we have an ethical responsibility to make sure her wishes are carried out. Our cook is notified of any food allergies and we have differences of food allergies food intolerances and food that parents don’t want their child to have. There is a big difference but again we must go along with the parent’s wishes. Duty of care is a legal term used to impress the need to look after and care in a safe and professional way and this is something we risk assess every day through our rigorous checks and constant monitoring.
Explain the principle of informed choice regarding children in your school?
On the initial show round a parent is given as much information about the school and our methods as possible, we answer questions extensively and honestly. The parent may have a second show round with their husband, partner or a friend, to get their opinion. they are free to chose what they want for their child, we just offer them the facts about our school and they are free to contact us with the instruction of next steps. If we cannot accommodate a family in a certain area i.e. hours, SEN or Choices we would rather say at this point than give the parent false information. We have an extensive website with lots of information available to a prospective parent, we have face to face meetings. All these ways of passing on information but the most important thing is to us is that the information we are giving out is accurate.
Explain how issues of individual capacity may affect informed choice.
The decision to send a child to our school is totally up to the parent and if they are unsure at the end of the show round what their decision to send their child to our nursery they are welcome to come back as many times as possible and have another look with someone else. It is everyone’s right to attend somewhere that is free from prejudice and encourages respect. We are governed by many policies such as:
Children and family act
Looked after Children
including our own settings policies
for all our staff we have an induction procedure which we have just recently updated to ensure nothing on the list is missed. When they start at nursery they are given a staff handbook which outlines all the expectations of the staff members. We haven’t had to give these instructions out yet in any other language than English, but we have got the means to have them translated should it be necessary.
Much of it depends what individual parents are looking for. Our building is quite old and a little bit tired, some like the character of this old building but some prefer more modern purpose-built buildings. Our care is very homely and free, and some people prefer Somewhere starker and under a theorist, such as Montessori. A parent with EAL may find it difficult to make an informed decision but where possible we will arrange to get the information translated in their mother tongue, because of our location and the type of people who live locally we have only had to do this once for a Polish family.