Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in the EYFS

Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in the EYFS 2560 2171 Nursery Story

Early Years settings offer the opportunity to shape the lives of children and their families in a diverse, equal and inclusive environment where children can thrive and fulfil their full potential.

Number 4 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. But what does equality, diversity and inclusion mean in the context of Early Years education?

The EYFS guidance offered by Birth to 5 Matters highlights that inclusion and equality apply to all children and their families. However, it’s not just about treating everyone the same: racial and cultural differences should be recognised, discussed and valued.

Children should develop a sense of belonging by seeing their experiences reflected in their environment. Special Education Needs (SEN) practitioners take a strengths-based perspective on disabilities, emphasising what the child can achieve. Above all, the focus should be on the child at the centre of the picture. 

How can we talk with children about positive diversity?

When talking positively to children about diversity, we need to be aware of any inherent biases we may have as children pick up on indirect cues

While you should avoid using skin colour as an identifying term, acknowledge that everyone is different and don’t claim not to see a person’s skin colour. Ensure that children learn to take pride in their culture and history.

Developing a sense of belonging is an integral part of inclusive practice

A sense of belonging is vital for mental health. When children’s needs for a safe, secure environment are met, they can feel they belong and are fully included. As a result, they experience fewer behavioural issues and can develop positive relationships and learn successfully. 

The importance of bringing diversity into Early Years settings

Allowing children to experience different cultures and beliefs boosts their awareness of diversity and increases their sense of inclusion and belonging. While it’s true that learning begins at home, not all families are aware of diversity or understand how to approach the issues. And you can’t start too early, so inclusion, equality and diversity are crucial in every nursery or childcare setting.

How can settings be more equal?

As an inclusive Early Years provider, a nursery should proactively address barriers such as stereotyping, conscious and unconscious bias, and negativity.

To develop positive practice, the Early Years setting should adopt a confident, can-do attitude. While implementing statutory policies and legal requirements, providers should go further and strive to ensure that every child can achieve their potential, regardless of their sex, race or disability.

Focus on the child at the centre

Every child is unique and brings a rich cultural heritage with them when they arrive at an Early Years setting. The differences between their families, homes and beliefs offer fantastic opportunities to discover and celebrate a wide range of cultures. In addition, making children’s voices central in telling their own stories supports them in developing a positive sense of self. 

A final thought

At Nursery Story, we know that diversity, inclusion, and equality isn’t just a matter of ticking boxes: it’s the key to holistic child development. And this is why it’s so important to celebrate differences and diversity, giving all our children the chance to learn about society and building a culture where everyone is valued and included.

Looking to bring your nursery business to the next level?

Now is the best time to give your nursery setting the competitive edge it needs and help you reach your occupancy goals. Don’t forget that Nursery Story has been created to support Early Years practitioners and parents. Our childcare software makes it easy to communicate with parents to keep them involved in their child’s daily activities.

Try Nursery Story for FREE.

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