Promoting social inclusion and respect for diversity in the early years

The Bernard Van Leer Foundation has published a collection of articles that address diversity in early childhood education. Included in the collection is an article by Martha Friendly entitled “How ECEC programmes contribute to social inclusion in diverse communities“. Friendly outlines four concepts that make the case on how ECEC contributes to inclusion.

The first concept is “development of talents, skills and capabilities in the early years affects both a child’s well-being and its future impact on the social, educational, financial and personal domains as the child enters adulthood. A second concept is that the family its environment – shaped by culture, ethnicity and race, class and income – have a significant impact on the developing child in early and throughout later childhood. Third, from a non-stigmatizing perspective social inclusion is not only about reducing risk but is also about ensuring the opportunities are not missed. A fourth concept takes a child’s right perspective in proposing that children are not merely adults-in-training but must be valued as children, not for simply who they what they may become later on”.