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Creating kind kinder communities

Bellarine Peninsula educators are ensuring children and their families all feel welcome, and are providing our littlest generation the tools to accept and celebrate others.

Meli has embedded an Anti-Bias Approach into its kindergarten curriculum, an evidence-based method that  addresses aspects of diversity such as gender, race, and language and provides strategies for families and staff to challenge existing attitudes and practices.

Meli Kindergartens have implemented this approach in many ways, including purchasing diverse books, considering inclusivity when organising community events, encouraging conversation around different cultures and creating play spaces that welcome any child to participate in any activity.

“It’s important to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels like they can come to kinder,” Portarlington Preschool Educator Annie Perkins said.

“We don’t make assumptions about gender, race or culture.”

She said the anti-bias approach is implemented through inclusive stories and songs and the play environment.

The preschool hosts Wathaurong for culture and language sessions with the children, and is currently putting together a cookbook full of recipes from its families which will showcase their kinder community’s cultures and traditions.

“We love it when we see all the children playing; we see boys in the home corner and they are playing with dolls and the hairdressing set, the girls get into the tools – we don’t gender-stereotype anything,” Ms Perkins said.

“These kids are going to be future leaders of the world.”

Meli Director Children’s Services Mandy Baxter explained that the Meli Anti-Bias Approach was not an addition to the kindergarten curriculum, but the foundation.

“It is never too early to address bias,” she said.

“We believe that if children grow up believing they have defined roles they may be limited in what they think they can do.

“The Anti-Bias Approach speaks to Meli’s vision of a fair, safe and inclusive community where everyone can thrive.”

There are still limited kindergarten spaces available at some Meli kindergartens for both 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten. To register, visit meli.org.au/kindergartens/

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