Realising Potential: Equality, Diversity and Inclusive Practice in Early Years

Graham, I. (2017). Realising Potential: Equality, Diversity and Inclusive Practice in Early Years.
Few experiences are more gratifying than reading a publication that not only addresses an issue that is close to your heart, but also provides answers to questions, and prompts you to reflect upon your practice to improve experiences for children. This publication by Barnardos manages to do just that. Drawing upon her vast experience in the field of early childhood, working with the Traveller community, children and families from disadvantaged communities, and more recently, refugee children and families, author Imelda Graham discusses issues of Equality, Diversity and Inclusive Practice in Early Years in a sensitive, informative, and empathetic manner. Against the backdrop of an ever-changing demographic landscape in Ireland, where it is now the norm to find a rich diversity within early years settings, among children, staff, parents and families, this publication is a timely and much needed text for all those working within, or with an interest in, the early childhood sector. It is written in the context of significant legislative changes, and policy initiatives, all of which are intended to support early years practitioners to develop inclusive practices. This publication blends case studies, legislation and theory to question understandings of equality, diversity and inclusion. It stresses the importance of using the correct terms and words as an important aspect of ‘supporting mutual understanding regarding the situations and issues that we encounter’ and providing inclusive early years care and education. For example, if asked, would you be able to describe the difference between a migrant and a refugee? Are you familiar with, and knowledgeable about, terms such as culture, multicultural, intercultural, race, assimilation, and ethnicity? This publication helps to fill these and other gaps in knowledge around equality, diversity and inclusion.