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looking down ont9 8 mugs of coffee from black to milky and all shades of coffee inbetween.

What can you expect from our ‘Simple Steps to Diversity Awareness’ course?

Don’t just rely on my description of what the course offers. See what others have said about taking the course too!

If you have been following this blog post series about ‘Doing Diversity Differently’, you will have already discovered 10 ways that children develop diversity awareness which outlines some of the lesser-known points related to diversity awareness. You will also have read about my own journey into discovering how to do diversity and you may have been heartened to read about the 3 common mistakes that many people make when they start to think about diversity at a deeper level.

How is the course structured?

In this blog post I’m going to take you one step further along on this journey by outlining some of the things you can expect to gain from following this Simple Steps to Diversity Awareness course.

Firstly, as you will have seen from my previous posts, I am highly committed to providing an accessible and easy to follow experience for all my course participants. So in order to do this, the modules are packed with interesting lessons that are all bite-size in length (the longest lesson in the whole course it’s just over 8 minutes).

Furthermore, I’m fully aware that students arrive with different levels of technological expertise. Some might feel totally confident about approaching an online course like this, whilst others might need a little more help and support. To this end, there are a set of technical video guides (TVGs) to go alongside the learning which explain every aspect of the technology that you need to get to grips with in order to follow the course. So, for example we have a TVG that shows you how to download zip files, and how to create your own efficient storage system for all our materials.

The content of the course is broken into modules, some of which are informative and easy to digest, whilst others are a little more challenging. In addition to information about diversity, child development and the way in which we can relate these aspects to our own individual settings and contexts, we also touch on some aspects of mindful practice. We ask you to reflect on your own routines and behaviours and consider ways in which these can be improved, along with offering you a simple ‘mindset model’ so that you feel fully supported in all aspects of your learning as you follow this course.

By the end of this course you will have developed, devised, rehearsed and become competent, at your own set of strategies for promoting positive diversity awareness in both you and your children. The course culminates with you creating your very own diversity policy that you can use on an individual basis or that you can share with your colleagues, which helps to make sure that you are all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ going forward.

Who can follow this course?

The course is open to any adult with an interest in expanding their knowledge of diversity awareness; how an understanding of diversity develops in young children, and how this knowledge can be applied to a variety of individual settings and contexts.

A range of professionals and carers have followed the course to date. We have had musicians, teachers, counsellors, students, childminders and teaching assistants to name just a few!

For brevity, I’m just going to focus here on an EYFS team that recently completed the course. There were five individuals in the group; a class teacher, a teaching assistant, a visiting music teacher, a special needs assistant and a parent helper.

The group set off on the course at the same time but they followed it at their own pace and in their own way so that it suited their own individual learning- and life-styles.

They were keen to take the course as it had been recommended to their headteacher by another visiting musician at the school. They worked in quite a rural setting and one of the group – let’s call her Val – said to me at the outset of the course that she didn’t see that there was much point in her taking this course because there was no diversity in the demographic of the children that they taught; she believed there was no relevance to learning about diversity awareness to her own work setting, because (she believed) “all the children had similar backgrounds”.

…and what do they say about it?

One of the exercises we suggested to our participants was for them to ask each parent and/or carer of the children they taught to suggest a favourite music track that they listened to as a family. They were also asked to share with the group why this piece of music was important to them.

From this simple exercise, our EYFS team were given a glimpse into the backgrounds of these adults (and therefore, the home-contexts of the children) and because their music-track stories were all so different, it was such a clear example of the ways in which their children represented a diverse range of, at the very least, music-listening experiences.

It was so interesting to see how Val’s attitude changed as she went through the course.

She began to see just how important it is to look beneath the surface impressions she makes in order to understand the children at a deeper level. She also appreciated that by offering young children experiences that are rich in diversity, they are much more prepared, and much more confident, to go out into the world knowing that they will be able to interact with every person they meet with respect and understanding, and without the fear of the unknown that often colours so many of our relationships in their uncertain early stages.

It was also interesting to see the various ‘Aha!’ learning moments this group had along the way and how the contrasting elements of the course challenged and enthused them in different ways. They all loved the fact that they could follow the course however it suited them – binging a module all in one go or savouring the lessons one at a time – and that all the individual sections were short enough to fit into their busy days.

Joe, the Teaching Assistant, commented on the fact that he felt far more confident in dealing with those small uncomfortable, and on one level, seemingly inconsequential incidents (which he could now confidently identify as ‘microaggressions’) that he had personally experienced. The sorts of comments from colleagues or parent that start with;

people like you…

or

your lot always…”.

Until taking this course Joe had

(i) always questioned himself as to whether he had heard the comment correctly
(ii) not known how to describe these sorts of comments and
(iii) felt his confidence to challenge these subtle negative behaviours had rocketed now that
he had rehearsed some ways of dealing with this in respectful and non-confrontational ways.

In the final part of the course, the team worked together to create a diversity policy for their own setting.

They now have it proudly displayed on their parents’ noticeboard and can refer to it at a moment’s notice. This is concrete proof that each member of the EYFS team works with a shared understanding of their own aims and objectives in relation to promoting positive diversity awareness in all they meet.

It means they can move forward together in creating and promoting positive diversity awareness for all in their setting.

We are so proud of them!

These are just a few examples of the ways in which some of our students have benefited from taking this course.

If you’d like any more information, follow the link below to read more about the course and sign up to the waiting list.

We will keep you informed of when the next course is about to take place and hope to see you there!

a group of diverse children holding hands and dancing and singing in a circle

Your course is just so easy to follow. I love the fact that the lessons are short enough to complete during my breaktime!

Dr Clare Seymour
Clare has spent much of her professional career (over 30 years) in international settings. Part of her Doctoral research involved exploring the often hidden aspects of institutional racism. As a result she has a longstanding interest in, and passion for, promoting positive Diversity.

In addition to school music-teaching, Clare also has over 10 years’ experience working as an international music examiner – an understanding and respect for Diversity is so crucially important in every aspect of her practice.

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