Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare
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Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

Emphasising each child’s individuality and fostering a sense of belonging is at the heart of the Reggio Emilia approach. It is thoughtfully incorporated into our philosophy at Reggio Emilia Early Learning Centres and consistently encouraged and celebrated. One of the many ways we do this is by promoting inclusivity and diversity — demonstrating to the children that everyone should be accepted for who they are, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs or other values. In this blog, we’ll explore how we promote inclusivity and diversity at our centres and the many benefits this has on our wonderful community. 

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

Our Philosophy and the Early Years Learning Framework

Our understanding of difference starts from a young age. At Reggio Emilia Early Learning Centres we strive to create an environment where people of diverse cultural backgrounds, languages and values, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, will be respected equally. Throughout the learning experience, we provide children, families and educators with opportunities to share their unique ideas, knowledge, skills, culture, language and experiences through centre activities, events and regular communication. Likewise, children, families and educators are encouraged to develop cultural competence by promoting positive attitudes toward diverse cultural groups.

While our stance on inclusivity and diversity links incredibly well with our approach, it is also informed by the Early Years Learning Framework of Australia which states that “All children have the right to participate in inclusive early childhood settings”. It goes on to say that childcare practices should be flexible to support and optimise access for children of all backgrounds. Our curriculum at Reggio Emilia follows methodologies laid out by the Early Years Learning Framework, and likewise, when it comes to diversity, we adopt practices that are inclusive and maximise engagement with learning.

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

Everyday Practices at Reggio Emilia

Showing consideration for each child’s cultural and religious background is a priority at our centres. We aim to demonstrate this by regularly incorporating inclusivity into our everyday practices. Beyond learning about diversity through project-based learning, we also prompt parents to get involved by visiting and educating the children on their own culture and beliefs. This not only inspires the children to be more inclusive and accepting of diverse backgrounds but also helps build a sense of community and belonging. 

Another important aspect of everyday practices at Reggio Emilia is our emphasis on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives. One way that we incorporate this culture is through our daily Yarning Circles. First Nations peoples have used Yarning Circles for thousands of years. They are a place to share, educate and build relationships. We start our Yarning Circles in the morning, giving each child the opportunity to talk about what they’ve learned and what they’d like to learn about, as well as discuss their projects with our educators. Everything discussed is recorded in each child’s Yarning Book and incorporated into the curriculum to demonstrate that their unique voice has been heard. 

Providing healthy, nutritious meals is also a priority at our centres. We ensure our delicious gourmet menu caters for children’s specific cultural beliefs. All meats are Halal-certified and no pork products are served. We also offer vegetarian options.  

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

Centre Activities and Projects

Project-based learning is a big focus of our curriculum, and we will often co-construct projects with the children that explore different cultures and beliefs in ways that are fun and engaging. Play is another opportunity to learn, and the perfect chance to introduce children to new ideas and inspire them to be more inclusive of others. 

There are a variety of projects we’ve explored recently at our centres, from playing an African board game called Morabaraba to Chinese dumpling making. The Daisy Cookbook at Reggio Emilia Dee Why is another great example of how we promote inclusion. This cookbook was designed for families to share traditional meals that the children and educators then make from scratch every Monday and Tuesday. During this activity, the children show more interest in eating, problem-solving, measuring and mixing and enjoy new cooking experiences as they get familiar with different cultural foods.

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

Special Events and Celebrations 

Educating children about different cultures through special events and celebrations makes learning about diversity more relevant and accessible. Celebrations can provide an opportunity for children to develop respect for diverse values and beliefs. We embrace the fact that children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood and a wider community. From Lunar New Year to Christmas, Eid Mubarak to Diwali — if there’s a cultural event on we’ll likely share and celebrate it with the children! Often we’ll also invite family members to join us for these events, especially if they have a special connection or understanding of these traditions themselves. 

Of course, inclusivity extends beyond specific cultural events too. We mix in other events like International Women’s Day, Harmony Day, International Family Day, Purple Day and more throughout the year to help children learn the importance of acceptance and tolerance. 

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare

At Reggio Emilia Early Learning Centres, we prioritise creating an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity. This not only teaches the children how to be more accepting and tolerant of others but also gives them a more thorough understanding of different cultures, values and beliefs. To find out more about the Reggio Emilia approach and how we use it to promote inclusivity and diversity, feel free to reach out to us on 02 9891 2222 or via email at mail@reggioemilia.com.au.  

Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare
Reggio Emilia Childcare Centres | Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Reggio Emilia Childcare