I have LGBTQ+ staff, LGBTQ+ parents and I will certainly have LGBTQ+ children in my setting. So it’s important to represent the whole community in our ethos and provision. Was I good at this as my first LGBTQ+ parents came through the door? Definitely not. When somebody enquires about a space I always ask for the parent’s name. So after asking the Mum’s name I said (cringing now) “and Dad’s name”? “No”came the reply, “two Mums”. Even then it took a while for the penny to drop! However I was so pleased they came to me. From my website they said they felt “they would be welcome”. And they were. However, I didn’t have LGBTQ+ resources or think too much about gender and stereotypes so not as diverse or as inclusive as I thought I was. I wasn’t rubbish, but I wasn’t great. I should have been aware much earlier than this and far more prepared.
I think that’s how a lot of Early Years improvements take place and evolve, by getting it wrong. I’m still learning. It’s very easy to ignore our short comings and feel we’re ok with what we know, but we need to to keep learning and changing for all our staff families and children how to be truly inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities. My parents (mentioned earlier) must have felt very comfortable because we haven’t been without same sex parents for as long as I can remember. We have had great conversations with children who easily talk about relationships thanks largely to our books that they are familiar with and less familiar with, thanks largely to our books that include LGBTQ+ and all our pre-school community.
I’m proud to be in a working group for LGBTQ+ in Early Years who are going to produce helpful resources for Early Years Practitioners. I have learned to improve my practice in diversity. My eyes are open much wider to what this means in my life and in my working role. I want to help others change practices. I am humbled by their awesomeness of this group, and looking forward to working with them.