Inclusion in Practice
Persona Dolls and the stories they “tell” challenge exclusion, support those who suffer because of it and enable every child to feel a sense of belonging. Settings committed to inclusive and anti-discriminatory practice are staffed by people who are sensitive, empathetic, flexible and knowledgeable; constantly examining their own attitudes and being aware of how these influence their assumptions about children and their families. They accept, respect and value children as unique individuals with something special to offer and welcome all parents.
√ Acknowledging that young children may pick up prejudices towards adults and children who are discriminated against in the wider society
√ Encourage children, students and practitioners to value and respect various shades of skin and hair colour, a range of facial features, hair textures, body sizes and shapes.
√ Constantly checking that language that reinforces stereotypical thinking is not being used.
√ Ensuring that everybody’s names are correctly pronounced and spelt and not arbitrarily shortened or changed. Nobody should get the message that their names are less acceptable than common traditional English ones – especially important where children are from ethnic groups that are discriminated against.
√ Focusing on children’s and student’s abilities and not their disabilities; give them time to develop at their own pace and build on what they can do. Actively encourage abled and disabled children and students to interact with and learn from each other.
√ Looking directly at children, students, practitioners or parents who have partial or total hearing loss to give them facial clues and to lip-read if they can. Maintaining eye level contact with children or adults who use wheel chairs so they are not talked down to.
√ Finding out about the languages spoken by families using the setting – including those where English is the home language to enhance pride in the language(s) they speak and awaken their interest and motivation to learn languages different from their own.
√ Answering questions about physical and cultural differences honestly. Telling children that all people are the same, is obviously not true; encouraging them to notice and value similarities and differences between themselves and others.
√ Being especially sensitive when interviewing refugee parents and checking whether they would like an interpreter at the interview. Many have painful memories of interrogation in their own countries and may have undergone stressful interviews with officials in Britain.
√ Encouraging and supporting those children who do not appear to be picking up superior attitudes and who express egalitarian ideas.