Guests from Antwerp
17 April 2018
So six lovely degree students from Antwerp visited today! Why? I hear you ask. Well it was all to do with Laura Henry’s My Family Week and how it impacted our practice. Their questions went deeper and we had a very lively discussion about embracing diversity, working out differences and how we will move forward and develop ideas from My family week.
My Family Week is best summed up by Laura herself. “Traditionally, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which may trigger for some children a sense that they don’t belong. My Family Week aims to celebrate all families, irrespective of a child’s circumstances including children with same-sex parents, those who are fostered, disabled, have step families or half brothers and sisters, are bereaved, blended, those who are adopted or who live with grandparents and other family members.” http://www.laurahenryconsultancy.com/my-family-week/
I can say hand on heart we have had all of the above at one time or another and they are all very welcome at my settings. We don’t treat them all differently, neither do we treat them all the same. All families have their own uniqueness, they all have individual needs. We need to support all our families, use sensitivity and kindness always and be ready to challenge discrimination should it arise.
These students wanted to know much more! “What about Men in Childcare?” I have had one man work for me for a while. It did result in one parent reporting to Ofsted and social services, but one parents prejudice was overwhelmingly counterbalanced with parent support. We discussed having to be constant in our role to be not only inclusive but actively support equality.
“How did My Family Week help us as practitioners work with families?” Great timing by Laura to have the week in October as new children had settled well. It scratched beneath the surface of family life to include extended family members, family members no longer with us, family interests and celebrations, strengthening our keyperson relationships with our families. This has all had a positive impact with our continuing work with our families, including ALL them from the start!
“How did we tell children about same sex parents?” We don’t! We have books and pictures that depict all families. Children don’t see things so much as different like people of our generation might. It’s important that we change attitudes and prejudices young, not by pointing them out but being open, honest, supportive and sensitive. Children’s prejudices are usually passed down by adults and it starts young. So our role is incredibly important in Early years.
We discussed so much more. It was inspiring to know that great values are being enthusiastically embraced and will hopefully be passed on by these lovely students.