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Our ECERS audit pulled us up on our lack of resources promoting diversity, so i'm trying to find some nice disabled dolls, dolls representing different ethnic origins and so on. either i'm looking in the worng places or they are as rare as rocking horse poo!

 

anyone know where i can get some?

 

Gaynor

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Our ECERS audit pulled us up on our lack of resources promoting diversity, so i'm trying to find some nice disabled dolls, dolls representing different ethnic origins and so on. either i'm looking in the worng places or they are as rare as rocking horse poo!

 

anyone know where i can get some?

 

Gaynor

 

Er, I think Galt used to have some. We've got a teddy with glasses from RNIB. Some toy shops have dolls with different skin tones. It always seems so false to me, but we comply because we have to. :o

 

I'll keep thinking

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I agree with your sentiments Cait, to me diversity is as much, if not more, about attitude, open mindedness, the curiosity to discover and learn about all rather than just providing a few resource s which depicts a small minute part of our diverse world.

 

The fault is with the people who 'require' us to have these resources (to enable them to tick a box to say such an 'area' is covered :o ) rather than the people providing them (or not as the case may be). xD

 

Peggy

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Thank you Peggy for your endorsement of my views.

 

I am in a part of the country where we very rarely see a different coloured skin than white, don't hear any accents other than broad Cumbrian or - I'd love to say 'understandable English' - but you know what I mean, standard English, and certainly never a foreign language unless we venture into the Lakes with tourists.

Because of this 'bubble' it's very important, I feel, that children are made aware that there is a vast spectrum of diversity out there, but the resources that are available are just 'cultural tourism' at best, and less than useful at worst. Does children's television provide much? - I'm afraid I don't see any these days, but I heard that they have a lady with a disability on one of the programmes.

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but I heard that they have a lady with a disability on one of the programmes.

 

Yes, which I read somewhere that 'parents' had complained that the lady with a physical disability was scaring their children. :o

 

I went to school with children from a predominantly white background and did not really experience diversity at all. I feel that this narrowed my experiences greatly. I now live and work in Birmingham where there is a very diverse community. I love living here because of this, my children have grown up amongst a wealth of cultures, religions and seen diversity in action. I hate the traffic, noise, pollution and all the other things related to city life but enjoy living in a diverse community. It is essential that children have concrete experiences to learn from, pictures, photographs and dolls do not really support learning about diversity. One great thing about working in Birmingham is that as soon as we take children on a trip we always come across the diversity of society. Great for first hand learning.

 

One of the catalogues that we use at work (I think Galt) has multi-cultural families, (including a family with disabled members) multi-cultural dolls with clothes. I guess you could purchase these resources just to 'tick' the boxes but where possible try to get out in the community to see diversity in action. If not, like in Cait's setting then I don't know what you could do. Perhaps there will be someone who will come along with a situation similar to Cait's who can make some useful suggestions.

 

I forgot to say Welcome to the forum gainah24

Edited by sienna
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I got picked up on the same thing in my ECERS. I have found some resources in the catalogues that we get in the post.. I'm off at the mo but message me if you are still looking for the website addresses after the hols and i'll dig them out... Our problem was we couldn't afford to order anything as it's more expensive than the non-cultural version! We fundraised tho so will soon be buying a few bits. I cut all the pictures out of these catalogues and the children did 'free sticking' with some pva and coloured card discussing as we go.. this is a good activity. Also one or two parents do go off to exciting places and are very kind to bring us back leaflets, food packaging, postcards etc.. Hope that helps x

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Have you looked on the Early Learning Centre website? They have a little "ethnic" dolls house family and some black dolls.

 

It seems a bit simplistic but if you have to jump through these hoops so be it.

 

I'm sure we've got a playmobil figure in a wheelchair.

 

Just found this site but I have never used it so I can't recommed it.

http://www.kidslikeme.co.uk/disability-resources-c91.html

 

Hope that helps

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we also have the obligatory dolls with various skin tone , disabilities etc , but it does seem a bit tokenistic (such a word?)there must be a way round it but i dont know!

one parent complained her child only played with the black doll! and was ofended thinking we had given her it on purpose !) (she is black african) we just cant win either way!

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Sorry I forgot to say Hi, and a warm welcome to the forum too. I remember one Ofsted Inspection where the Inspector asked to see more 'pictorial' representation of diversity. At the time (Sept-Aut Term) we had done some activities on settling in, all about me etc and along the huge length of the wall was a photo of each child on register, so I said to the Ofsted Inspector (tongue in cheek) "Have you not seen our photo wall?"

She looked at the predominantly white faces, plus 2 black faces, she said "Well, it's not a balanced representation"

I replied, what sort of 'balance' do you mean"?

She said there are predominantly more white than black faces, what message are you giving to the 'black' children.

I replied "Well I'm confused, upon the wall YOU can see Asian, Polish, Scottish, British, Irish, Black African, Greek, oh and white south African, is that not diverse enough for you?

 

She was not amused and then started 'rooting' through all my mobilo people again stating there was not a good balance of representation, once I'd really sorted through them all she could see that there was. :o

 

I then had a discussion with her about tokenism and the importance of 'attitude' and the fact that she had made assumptions regarding our wall display and the diversity of my setting, oh by the way we also had a group of traveller families residing in our car park who we were trying successfully to integrate into the setting. xD

 

Peggy

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could you include instruments, fabrics, dressing up clothes, food tasting, cultural 'tools' and music that represent diversity

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A word of warning about suppliers of resources to represent diversity - we recently bought lots of new resources for just this purpose (leaving aside our worries about appearing tokenistic) and used suppliers recommended to us by a trainer in this area. Unfortunately many of the items have arrived bearing the label "Not a toy" and "Not suitable for under 3 years". In practice it is evident that these are not suitable as toys and two specific items are currently sat on my shelf awaiting repair. We wanted to buy resources which were not simply "white" dolls with different coloured plastic for skin, etc and that could be used in general play, not displayed as "special", but I am very disappointed with the choices we have been able to find and the quality of them when we have found them. I would be interested to hear of any suppliers which offer these items and that can stand up to daily play.

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re the theme of it's just tokenistic and something you do to tick a box. Does that mean you wouldn't be providing a resourced setting that was reflecting diversity if you weren't made to do so to pass an inspection?????

 

could you include instruments, fabrics, dressing up clothes, food tasting, cultural 'tools' and music that represent diversity

 

Yes I would!! All of the above all of the time.

 

Cx

 

PS Do settings also get inspected on community cohesion or is that just schools? Not sure - just curious.

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re the theme of it's just tokenistic and something you do to tick a box. Does that mean you wouldn't be providing a resourced setting that was reflecting diversity if you weren't made to do so to pass an inspection?????

 

 

 

Yes I would!! All of the above all of the time.

 

Cx

 

PS Do settings also get inspected on community cohesion or is that just schools? Not sure - just curious.

hi catma, maybe i used the wrong word,! got cotton wool for brains today due to flu!! i mean we have all the costumes insruments, clothing ,artifacts etc but some how it sttill feels a bit stereotypical and they are all so traditional which possibly doesnt reflect true diversity, i wonder how white british would be reflected in eg an african or italian nursery!!! any ideas any one? its difficult to think what i would include so its not stereotypical--- hope i make sense!!

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My thoughts are that these resources provide something thing that a child can relate to. We have a variety of dressing up and home corner stuff that represents things that our children will see in their homes. We have a variety of play people from different materials and different skin tones, we also have a set of people with a range of disabilities but I have put them away as they were not being used approriately by the chidlren and I need to speak to the staff about it. We have posters and family photos everywhere, we have books which have children in wheelchairs etc, I think the animal boogie range have good representation. For us we have a very mixed group of children and staff so we reflect each other, although I am the only representative from north of the border! I think it can be tokenistic if it is not used in the right way - like our people with disabilities - the children were fighting over the person in the wheelchair because they could zoom him around the room, the other people proved a talking point for some of the chidlren but the staff were not prepared to talk about it. (I need to do mini training session on it)

An additional note of some relevancy, I had two agency staff in recently and one of them asked if our book entightled 'everybody poos' was to be read to the children as they had requested. I dont think I hid my surprise very well, when I replied yes of course its a childrens book and everybody does poo but some chidlren have an issue with it. We have another book of a similar nature in the book box and a body book which shows the poo travelling through the intestines!! I was amazed :o

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Hi jaycooks- sorry if you thought I was directing my post at you - was trying v hard to make it a more general comment on what I felt after reading the whole item.

 

I think more and more in this world we have a moral duty to show children that their lifestyle isn't the only way of doing things and that is at the heart of what I think cultural diversity is with under 5s. It can even boil down to understanding that I can like one football team but it's perfectly alright for you to like another and we can still be friends. How much violence could be avoided in the adult world if even THAT had been achieved.

 

I feel strongly that culture is about identity. I am in an ethnic minority because of my heritage. This identity was only very recently acknowledged by the EU and now because I can I use that ethnicity coding wherever possible - because I am proud of it. I was really happy to see it on a hospital form recently!!!! It really annoys me when my heritage is mocked and stereotyped on tele for example. I don't like being misrepresented. As I am also White British you would think I was truly represented in the mainstream but I don't think I am. So imagine how it must feel to be obviously different but to feel you are not visible anywhere else in your world outside of your home and family?

 

I'm often asked about the scale point "talks about home and community" (from memory!) and practitioners say - but they don't!! I look around their settings and often I think "why would they" - clearly the setting screams "leave all your own identity at the door, there is nothing from your lifestyle here that you can relate to or own".

 

I know it's hard if you have a very monocultural community but understanding that variety of existences is even more important then. And not just Africa = handa's surprise either!! What I do know from my own experience is that having things/experiences/whatever that help children understand there is a great big world of variety and difference out there is a fundamental imperative!!

 

Cx

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I know it's hard if you have a very monocultural community but understanding that variety of existences is even more important then. And not just Africa = handa's surprise either!! What I do know from my own experience is that having things/experiences/whatever that help children understand there is a great big world of variety and difference out there is a fundamental imperative!!

 

Cx

 

 

I totally agree. One of the worst things about a monocultural community is that there isn't anything in the local shops either! I drool whenever I go to Leeds to see my sister; all those lovely sari's in shops, the obvious ethnoculture everywhere. My sister has provided me with some lovely resources, but I still feel there's no realism in them for the children, if you know what I mean. We can dress them up and show them pictures etc but until they see REAL PEOPLE going about their daily lives dressed in this way then It won't 'click', I don;t think.

However, that said, we do our best! :o

I know that this is just one element of what diversity is about, but it's quite a biggie for us, here.

We do celebrate the diversity of the children in all the ways we can

Edited by Cait
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We do celebrate the diversity of the children in all the ways we can

 

We can't give the children all of the experiences we like them to have of our diverse society no matter how hard we try.

 

What we can do is equip children with the skills and attitudes to make the right choices when they come across new situations in the future.

 

How do we do that?

 

By celebrating diversity as Cait says and modelling inclusive practice in our settings.

 

The ethos has to come first and then the reources can support it but only in a small way.

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Catma, I think unfortunately it is the Inspectors / advisors (not all but some) who want to 'tick the box' and not the settings and to do so they look out for the 'obvious' stereotypical resources. A good setting will reflect the diversity of the children and families who attend which 'values' their various cultures. Your description of yourself and the example I gave of the diversity within my setting shows that the diversity is not immediately visible. The attitude of wanting to find out and discover all you can about the children and families in our settings is the best 'concrete' way of bringing awareness of diversity / differences to the children. As you eloquantly pointed out what first appears to be white british doesn't mean 'same' each family has it's own culture as you explained, from favourite football team, to do you eat dinner as a family at the table or not. The concete example of culture for this age is 'everyday' life and how it is different in every family. The wider context of 'traditional' costume etc can, in my mind, only be tokenistic in the sense that these resources are a 'representation' of what is real, someone elses image and not necessarily how it really is.

If children learn about the positives of difference (and sameness within various families/cultures) then, even in a mono cultural setting the children will have learnt that difference is to be embraced with awe and wonder and not fear, even if it is unknown to them. So when these children do meet people from wider cultural backgrounds they will be curious and accepting to want to find out more about them rather than negative because of a perceived difference. Within a mono cultural setting there are still many cultural differences.

I think the best way to promote awareness is through really good relationships with the parents, activities related to all about me, my family, including extended family etc. Sharing of favourite foods and recipes, ways in which we celebrate special events in our families etc.

Children will also use resources to represent what they want them to within their extensive imaginations, ie: a super hero figure will be in play, a 4 yr old white british boy, or a 4 yr old black African boy, or a 3 yr old white polish girl etc.

I personally think books, preferably with photo images, are a good way of 'getting to know' about 'traditional aspects of various cultures, either story or reference books, and also about everyday life, including the fact that people from various cultures wear western style clothes as well as their 'traditional costumes'. It is more about the person inside rather than the image.

 

I understand the need for someone who feels to be a minority within a group to have a sense of belonging, and to enable this I think we need to do this by getting to know each individual person, child and adult within our settings and include in our resources objects, play resources, books, pictures that reflect their identity, I just don't think this is best done through the 'play' resources that are commercially available today.

I also think that when QA assessors (be it ECERS or Ofsted or other) ask for 'more cutural resources / representation' they are undermining the importance of inclusive practice and are actually condoning a 'tick box' 'well Ive covered that criteria type attitude, especially as many resources mis-represent what they may first appear to.

 

I remember many, many years ago when I was less knowledgable about these issues, I bought a set of books for the preschool I worked in, they were a series called something like "Tell me about disability", "Tell me about Race" etc, it was a few years later whilst attending some training that these books were made as an example of 'bad' practice. I thought I was doing the right thing but on closer inspection the pictures within the books were really very badly stereotypical, for example in the 'disability' book it explained that a person may feel disadvantaged for being very tall, the picture showed a black basketball player. Another example was about age with a typical picture of granny & grandad, nan with hair in bun and glasses, grandad bald sitting in a chair with a blanket on his lap, both wearing steel rimmed round glasses. Another picture portrayed a 'bad' person through punk rock style dress and a 'clever' person playing the violin, tidy hair and glasses. My point being, even if the intention is good we need to be careful of what stereotypical images we are portraying, ie: A doll with European facial features coloured brown to represent a black person.

 

Sorry gone off on a tangent there. Maybe some members have some really good books re: this issue, that they may want to recommend and review in the April competition. :o

Peggy

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If children learn about the positives of difference (and sameness within various families/cultures) then, even in a mono cultural setting the children will have learnt that difference is to be embraced with awe and wonder and not fear, even if it is unknown to them.

 

I agree...Peggy, you said just what I wanted to say :o

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It seems unlikely that a doll could make a difference on its own - but maybe it is an indirect indication that the issues are being addressed.

 

The BBC Child of Our Time programme on identity really got to grips with some of the issues on this - if you didn't get to see it I am streaming a couple of clips of it at the moment on:

 

http://www.327matters.org/Paper.htm

 

John

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It seems unlikely that a doll could make a difference on its own - but maybe it is an indirect indication that the issues are being addressed.

 

The BBC Child of Our Time programme on identity really got to grips with some of the issues on this - if you didn't get to see it I am streaming a couple of clips of it at the moment on:

 

http://www.327matters.org/Paper.htm

 

John

 

 

Thank you John, that looks interesting. I enjoyed the Child of our Time programmes I've seen so far. They have been very thought provoking

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re the theme of it's just tokenistic and something you do to tick a box. Does that mean you wouldn't be providing a resourced setting that was reflecting diversity if you weren't made to do so to pass an inspection?????

 

This is my thought exactly! :o:(

 

I completely understand that a lot of the so called "multi-cultural" dolls etc can hardly be classed as that.

I recently went into the Early Learning Center with the view to buy more dolls for our home corner. I found two fantastic dolls, a boy and a girl and asked one of the sales assistants about some of the features they had (Crying, sucking a bottle, etc) and she got one out of the store room for me to have a look at. So I decided to buy two, a boy and a girl. And the sales assistant said to me "We have some multi-cultural versions of this doll too, would you like to have a look?" Being the sad sad person I am, I got very very very!! excited... only to be presented with a "black" version of the one in my hands. And I kid you not, it said on the back something along the lines of "This black baby Millie.." I don't understand how they can call their range "Multi-cultural" when it's exactly the same doll but with a different skin colour.

 

Sorry went off a bit there, but my point was that if you buy proper multi-cultural resources, I saw some fantastic ones in a catalougue recently, I think it was called Eduzone? Not 100% on that one though. And they had a whole range of ethnic dolls in there, and not just the same doll with different skin colours, you could clearly see they were different dolls. They had different eyes, mouths noses etc.

 

I think it's jsut about looking around for proper multicultural resources.

 

When visiting family, I often visit a shop called Risk (Or Riske I can't remember) Which sells just about everything.. Multi-cultural books, instruments etc. (And some really nice things for your home!) I dunno if anyone's in that area and has been there? I can't remember exactly where it is, but I've got a leaflet somewhere that I can dig out if anybody would like me to. xD

 

Sorry if I've started waffling :(

But I strongly feel that even if all your children are exactly the same ethnicity and religion etc etc. they still should learn all about children from all around the world, even if they are unlikely to come into contact with them during their life.

 

Thankfully because I feel so strongly about this, (and because I have a great manager who listens to us) my setting is quite diverse in our resources. We're a predominately white setting, and generally their religious backgrounds are all the same. But recently we had a new family show an interest in our setting. As soon as the mum walked through the doors she asked for the registration pack and a pen. When I asked her why, she said it was because there was so many resources that reflected their home life, and she felt that because we valued their religion/culture enough to display it around our setting she felt that her boys would be valued in our setting.

 

I really thing I have waffled on, sorry about that.

But I just really feel that this is an important part of our world these days.

 

Lluna

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But recently we had a new family show an interest in our setting. As soon as the mum walked through the doors she asked for the registration pack and a pen. When I asked her why, she said it was because there was so many resources that reflected their home life, and she felt that because we valued their religion/culture enough to display it around our setting she felt that her boys would be valued in our setting.

This is what its all about really: creating an atmosphere in your setting where children feel valued and welcomed. Your resources spoke volumes about how your setting sets out to value diversity and this particular family immediately felt at home in your group before you even began to explain your policies and practices. Mind you, if providing resources and artefacts were the extent of your inclusive practice then this would only be half the story. Provision of culturally diverse resources is an important part of enabling children from a variety of backgrounds feel welcomed and valued, but there has to be a shared commitment to show this through everyday practice too.

 

I'll bet your setting would score highly on the ECERS scale for diversity, Lluna!

 

Maz

 

PS I know just what you mean about the ELC dolls (although MrsWeasley and I didn't really notice that until we got them out of the box!). They are very popular in our group though!

 

PPS You're right about Eduzone - got a copy of their latest catalogue this week (think it came free with Nursery Ed magazine) and have bookmarked lots of things to buy!

Edited by HappyMaz
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Have you tried the equal opps shop they have free delivery and 10% off all online orders they do have some lovely resources

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