Diversity and Inclusion
Issues related to the social concepts of diversity and inclusion form the foundation of the research I conduct on early childhood education and care. The term diversity includes an understanding that each child’s position is affected by mediations of “race”, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, language, religious beliefs, ability, and migration status. Such differences complicate the needs of each child, thus speaking to how the educational system must do more than simply recognize the diversity brought to the classroom. Moving beyond recognizing diversity and towards equitable outcomes, the school system and educators should ensure that each child receives equal but different treatment based on their individual needs. As an issue that has often been overlooked, diversity needs to be critically addressed as a challenge to improving the school system for the benefits of every child regardless of which difference is brought to the classroom.
Inclusion is recognized as both a fundamental basis of all forms of instruction and a strategy to incorporate the ideas, knowledge and skills from children of diverse backgrounds. As a process that works to foster a sense of belonging for all children, inclusion involves engaging non-dominant perspectives in order to make decisions about education and care. Placing emphasis on inclusion also requires recognizing and countering the biases and discrimination that are embedded in the educational system. Indeed, inclusion involves both educational institutions and educators to be flexible in their implementation and facilitation of curriculum along with their assessments of children’s development.