Respect for differences in early childhood development programmes
SKOPJE 1 April 2014: The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with financial support from the Government of the United Kingdom launched an initiative for mainstreaming respect for diversity in early childhood development programmes.
The purpose of the initiative is to support young children in acquiring skills for respect of diversity based on ethnicity, culture, religion, gender and ability.
“Children can learn to enjoy, appreciate, and seek out differences,” said Dr. Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative. “Appreciation and respect for diversity and multiculturalism are among the key values that we need to instil in young children, even more because of the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nature of the society.”
The early years are the crucial period for developing the set of basic skills that young children need to be successful in school, in social relations, at workplace and in the society. But they are also critical in constructing children’s understanding of diversity.
Despite the common belief that support for diversity and multiculturalism can start later in primary school, researches show that as early as the age of two, children start to develop their identities, attitudes and prejudices. These often mirror the family and the community context and the type of personal and social interactions.
The programme will kick off with three-day workshop for key stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Bureau for Education of Development, State Education Inspectorate, British Embassy, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, ECD CoR, teacher training faculties from Skopje, Bitola and Stip, and representatives from ten pilot kindergartens which will test the programme.
Participants will discuss how to mainstream diversity and multiculturalism in the preschool education curriculum, the in-service training programme, and how to develop joint activities and events for children and parents from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
The new initiative builds on the on-going reform of the early child development system in the country which aims to increase access to quality early learning and development opportunities. The focus is on the most marginalized children who often lack early stimulation at home and access to organized early childhood development programmes.
For more information, please contact: Irina Ivanovska (02) 3231-172, 072 236 722 or firstname.lastname@example.org