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The nursery chain, Kiddi Caru, has shown its commitment to inclusion being a core ethos of its nurseries, by holding its first inclusion conference training day.
The training day was attended by all of its regional managers and inclusion officers and its aim was to help Kiddi Caru staff understand diversity – not just additional learning needs but also to ensure that there is understanding and appreciation of different family circumstances and values.
One element of the training day was improving the ability of practitioners to listen to the views of children using a resource known as the ‘family box’.
The ‘family box’ is intended to encourage discussion and to develop children’s critical thinking skills. It is also a tool to encourage practitioners to listen to children’s thoughts and feelings in order to promote emotional wellbeing and enhance self-esteem – teaching it is okay to be different.
Sue Meekings, director of childcare at Kiddi Caru, said: “The role of inclusion officer is vital in each of our settings as we need to ensure that every single child that comes to us feels happy, secure and confident regardless of their own personal circumstances and background.
“We wanted to find a different way to tackle questions from young children around the issues of equality and diversity and understand how we can then go on to promote emotional wellbeing. The idea of the ‘Family Box’ really interested us and the workshop activity in the afternoon using the resources in the ‘box’ to facilitate discussion was extremely useful.”
She added: “Crucially though, it does not end here. We have arranged a follow up work group where we will discuss the inclusion conference day and how some of the new learning has been put into practice in each of our settings. We will then look at the merits of the activities so that we can then go on to devise our own best practice hand-book and training which will then be cascaded to team members across the whole chain.”
The course examined ways in which young children gain knowledge, understanding and value of individual differences and was hosted and run by Concept Training.
The training included The Equality Act 2011, exploring individual differences, exploring hidden differences, the UN Convention on the rights of the child and developing thinking skills in early childhood.
Each staff member received an on the day assessment which leads to accredited certification and was aimed at demonstrating that each person understood the issues in relation to their own practice.
As a result of the course, each nursery now has its own library of resources. These books focus on a child’s immediate life experience and help them to make sense of their own individual circumstances.