EYFS Cultural Diversity Training Day

CPD For Me

Time to be inducted by David Weatherly and Sheena Wright once again!  David Weatherly is a School Improvement Adviser and an accomplished teacher at all stages of learning.  He is author of the award-winning Primary Connected History and Primary Connected Geography schemes published by Harper Collins.  Sheena Wright is an EYFS Education Consultant and a former Local Authority Early Years Lead Adviser with over twenty years of successful teaching experience across the full primary age range.

Today’s training was entitled ‘Developing a child’s understanding of their culturally diverse world‘.  The day was very much planned around the Early Learning Goal (ELG)People, place and communties‘ through the lens of diversity.  Being a fairly small group allowed much interaction through open discussion and the accompanying chat feed.

After providing a warm welcome, introducing himself and Sheena, David outlined the aim and objectives of the day.  Next, we considered our diverse world and the fact that we are culturally diversity too.   We had been fore-warned to bring something that we felt was representative of our personal cultural heritage or identity and which we might be willing to talk about briefly.  At this point, we were invited to contribute.  A wonderful discussion unfolded due to the many willing contributors and interesting artefacts and stories shared.  I had selected my Chartered Geographer’s badge (awarded by the Royal Geographical Society) as I felt it represented my love for geography and demonstrated how my identity has evolved over time.  David projected data from the last Census, which revealed a few surprises.  He posed a few questions to us and we added our answers to the chat feed; via a combined effort, we managed to gain full marks!  Themes, such as cultural competence, definition of culture, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, cultural diversity, the Department of Education’s definition of diversity, diversity in the Early Years, with reference to Birth to 5 Matters, The Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention (UNICEF) and the UK Equality Act 2010 were all touched upon.

After a short break for refreshments, Sheena explored the world to an EYFS child, unpicked the Educational Programme for Understanding the World (UtW), part of the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, the new Early Learning Goals (ELGs) for Understanding the World (UtW), Developments Matters, links to other Areas of Learning, particularly PSED and a child’s ‘sense of self’Ofsted’s definition of cultural capital in the Early Years, bringing awe and wonder to your curriculum and valuing the cultures of children and families.

David then considered promoting British Values (BVs).  He challenged us to some of the questions contained within the British Citizenship Test.  Let’s just say they were rather interesting!

Later, Sheena delved into aspects including developing the child’s own identity, beginning with the child, a relevant curriculum, making cultures a part of continuous provision, the importance of building strong family partnerships and working with parents.

David took over to talk about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, which brought back memories of my time in teaching (my first placement when completing my PGCE was at Hucknall Primary School in Nottinghamshire, where there was a significant contingent from the Traveller community, and, when based at Ribston Hall High School in Gloucestershire, I taught two students with links to the Show People).  He shared several facts, focused on their culture and traditions and guided us towards some sources for further reading should we wish to discover more.  I found this part particularly fascinating, just as I had done several years ago (so much so that I completed one of my major assignments on this when training to be a teacher).

We were also asked to select three books from our current provision that we use with children to help broaden their knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity.  David started the ball rolling by showcasing a few books, namely Coming to England by Floella Benjamin and Diane Ewen; My name is not Refugee by Kate Milner; Hello by Hollis Kurman Barroux and Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus.  Afterwards, delegates shared their choice of books, providing a synopsis of each one.  Whilst several ‘classics’ were mentioned, I was introduced to a number of new titles too.

David recommended perusing Ryazan Tristram’s website and her accompanying blog (https://everythingzany.com/british-culture-traditions-and-celebrations-in-the-uk/).  Ryazan writes about British culture, concentrating on great traditions and celebrations in the UK, in a very entertaining way.

Following lunch, David explored a few English traditions, festivals and holidays with us (i.e. Shrove Tuesday; Harvest Festival; May Day and May fairs and Morris dancing; August Bank Holiday) and emphasised their potential cross-curricular parallels. I did not realise that pancakes were made in so many countries around the world and how varied they were!  We were directed to two resources published by Oxfam, namely Education for Global Citizenship and Global Citizenship in the Classroom.  These contained a copy of their Curriculum for Global Citizenship, which outlined the knowledge and understanding, skills and values and attitudes relevant to teaching and learning in the EYFS and some fantastic case studies with ideas that could easily be adopted, adapted or developed within our own schools.

David brought the training to a close with a time for questions.  Both him and Sheena answered these comprehensively and confidently.

All in all, another very enjoyable and worthwhile day.  Many thanks for allowing me to pop along, David.  Hope my contributions were appreciated too!

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