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UNICEF Romania statement on educational materials which introduce young children to diversity

The UNICEF Office in Romania welcomes the adoption by the Ministry of Education of the Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), a policy document advancing the quality of early education in Romania. The document defines the key competencies that Romanian young children should posses by attending preschool education. It was developed through a wide consultative process, which involved reputed Romanian and international paediatricians, child development psychologists, specialists in pedagogy and early education, educators, parents and other professionals.
Such a policy document has generated approval in the international community on Romania’s path to establishing a modern, quality-based, inclusive early education system. Two nation-wide validation processes have been conducted: a content validation process and an age-validation process.  Five key domains were included in the ELDS:
- physical development, health and personal care and hygiene
- socio-emotional development
- approaches to learning 
- language, communication, pre-writing and pre-reading skills development
- cognitive development, world knowledge and understanding

Under the social and emotional development domain, a cluster of standards is related to “accepting and respecting diversity”. The Romanian experts have included supportive practices which “provide children with objects and images that reflect cultural diversity”.

UNICEF recalls that the principle of non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 2) and countries have an obligation to promote in all its forms the acceptance and respect for diversity: gender, ethnic, racial, social status, ability status, or any other criterion. Education is a crucial entry point for building democratic citizenship and to fight against negative prejudices and stereotypes that feed feelings of exclusion and discrimination.

In this context UNICEF commends the Ministry of Education for the adoption of the “Standards on the quality of education materials in early education” and for the procurement of educational materials, including toys for kindergartens which are compliant with the acceptance and respect for diversity, which are core values in the creation of a world fit for children.




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