Working paper published illustrating values underpinning the Una initiative
I have recently published a Bernard van Leer Foundation Working Paper (No. 52) entitled: “Developing Programmes to Promote Ethnic Diversity in Early Childhood: Lessons from Northern Ireland”. The Paper provides a detailed case study of the development of an early childhood programme (the ‘Media Initiative for Children – Respecting Difference’ programme) that is targeted at preschool children (3-4 year olds) and combines cartoon media messages around diversity with an early years programme. Together they aim to promote positive attitudes to physical, social and cultural differences amongst young children, practitioners and parents. The messages also address bullying behaviours.The programme was developed in partnership between Early Years – The Organisation for Young Children, based in Northern Ireland, and the US-based organization Pii (Peace Initiatives Institute). To date the programme has been delivered through hundreds of preschool settings across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and has literally reached thousands of young children. For me, the story behind the development of the programme provides an excellent example of how early childhood organizations, practitioners, communities and researchers can work together in an open and inclusive way. Moreover, it also shows how all of this can be done with a commitment to the core values of being: children’s rights-based; outcomes-focused; and evidence-informed.
This approach, and the core values underpinning it, has provided the inspiration for the development of Una – the Global Learning Initiative on Children and Ethnic Diversity (previously known as the JLICED). By describing the development of the Media Initiative programme in Northern Ireland, the Working Paper also provides an illustration of the type of approaches that we, in Una, plan to adopt in helping support the development of other early childhood initiatives in countries characterized by racial and/or ethnic divisions and conflict.
For more information on the Working Paper and to download a full version visit: http://www.paulconnolly.net/publications/book_2009a.htm