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An anti-bias approach: but where do I start?

Sarah-Louise Gandolfo
August 31, 2020

An anti-bias approach to early childhood education and care is not an add on. It is not a script to follow or a tick box curriculum. In fact, the anti-bias goals were used to create our national frameworks, so they underpin all that we do.

An anti-bias approach is the integration of diverse and complex perspectives into every facet of service delivery. At its core, it’s about every child, every family, every person, being included and genuinely valued for all that they are.  

An anti-bias approach ought to inform our policies, our practices, and our daily decision making; and ensuring an anti-bias approach weaves its way into all corners of our services takes courage (Scarlett, 2016). Courage to reflect critically on our actions and behaviours. Courage to be open to conversation and critique. Courage to be a pioneer.

So, where do we start on this road to anti-bias?

Reflect: start with self.

Consider your own personal values and biases. Ponder the culture lens through which you view the world. Question your image of the child, your image of the family and your image of yourself, and how and why these came to be.

Review: critically evaluate the leadership and governance.

Sit in your classroom and study the environment. How are different culture groups represented? What are the messages of welcome? Where are the barriers to inclusion? Consider, too, the systemic barriers, such as enrolment forms and calendars of events, and who makes governance decisions for the service.

Learn: read, watch, listen and engage.

There are many amazing books, blogs, journals, and podcasts that you can engross yourself in, and while these are a perfect starting point, it is perhaps even more vital to listen and talk. Dau (2001) implores us to interact, to engage openly with others about ourselves, our values, and our work. So, attend that network meeting, join the zoom session, and speak up in the face of injustice and bias.

 

Dau, E. (2001). The anti-bias approach in early childhood (2nd ed.). NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Scarlett, R. R. (2016). The anti-bias approach in early childhood (3rd ed.). NSW: MultiVerse Publishing.

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