by the SOEL Pedagogy and Training Team

We know that we all have biases.

Over the last few years, we have used the language of ‘inclusion’. Yet, each time these conversations arise, we wonder who is included, why, for how long and where? 

Often we catch ourselves using phrases that value something over something else; “Plain rice.” “Normal families.”

SOEL has championed the voices of children in a society where children are seen as vulnerable, cute, and easily dismissed.

Our research project in 2017 into gender was powerful.

The “Paperbag Princess”, “My Princess Boy”, wondering whether the length of someone’s hair indicated gender, raised awareness that the bias of the educator stopped them from challenging the children’s ideas. When more data was given, the children accommodated it.

“As educators we need to appropriately challenge children’s play and thinking so that the child becomes confident and comfortable in who they are as an individual; as well as sensitive, understanding and respectful to others regardless of gender.” 

– Priya, a Subiaco SOEL educator reflection on the 2017 gender investigation

SOEL employs men, and we regularly discuss men’s ability to care and be caring.

Educators working with babies have begun to notice and take the interests of babies seriously. They have started to appreciate and value children’s delight and sadness as genuine expressions of the human experience.

We have been on a journey to include Aboriginal perspectives in our thinking and doing. The research into Noongar seasons and the Acknowledgement of Country are examples of the understanding and commitment of educators to learn new ways of doing things.

There is much to explore as we work to create a just society where everyone has a right to dignity and a good life. In addition, we also acknowledge that at times there will be a conflict of ideas, values and opinions.

To guide us through this process, we will be using the work of Red Ruby Scarlett in “The Antibias Approach in Early Childhood”, fourth edition.

We know that we will learn and grow together and invite you to join in our conversations, reflections and debates.

Want to learn more about our Pedagogy and Training Team? Our blog post Parenting Resources Recommended by SOEL’s Pedagogy and Training Team introduces each woman behind the team that makes up such a crucial part of the SOEL family.