The early years foundation stage framework promotes from an early age, children’s ability to learn about identity and culture, supporting them to develop a positive sense of themselves and others.
All practitioners at YMCA Day Nursery strive to help children placed in their care, to develop a positive outlook for themselves and others through the learning experiences provided. They aim to enable children to learn about themselves as well as recognising, respecting and celebrating similarities and differences.
One of the huge benefits of being a YMCA Nursery is being a part of the overall YMCA family, connected with different cultures and traditions, both locally and across the world. With this in mind, YMCA Day Nursery is developing international links, enabling children placed in their care to gain real insight into these different cultures and traditions.
YMCA as an organisation is vast, with nurseries operating all across the world. So one idea to get this movement off the ground is to implement an international penpal system.
This would allow children from different YMCA Nurseries to communicate with each other through writing letters and sending photos or drawings to each other. At the age of 17 our own nursery manager Ian, took part in an exchange programme, visiting the Indian YMCA and seeing first hand the work being done in Mumbai. He worked with vulnerable homeless children and saw the amazing work being done to help young girls who had been forced into unimaginable circumstances. Having this insight put things into perspective for Ian.
Children are never too young to begin learning about their own identity and culture, and every day the team encourage them to be respectful of those around them and the world in which they live. They strive to ensure children develop self-esteem and confidence and enable them to recognise and accept differences in others. These values are inherent in playtime and adult led activities such as:
- Story time, using books that reflect the diversity of children’s experiences
- Exploring the world in which we live, by exploring the outdoors and going on walks
- Celebrating different cultures and their unique traditions from around the world
- Valuing the cultural, religious and community events and experiences of members of the nursery family.
Children are always encouraged to try new and different experiences, and their key worker plays an important role in knowing and understanding each child and their family traditions. Across the nursery, there are displays of art work and images of different cultures and traditions which reflect the diversity of the nursery family.
All nursery practitioners value that every child is unique and express themselves in their own way as individuals. They welcome knowledge about different customs and opinions and even try and learn new languages along the way. So far, the nursery has had children who can speak, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German and Iranian.
If you would like to find out more about YMCA Day Nursery and childcare services in North Shields, please get in touch!