In this writing, I intend to discuss legislation and its impact on early years practice, with regards to staff and children. I will also touch on stereotyping and discrimination and link this in with areas of legislation.
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According to the Government Equalities Office, the Equality Bill was published in 2009 on the 27th of April. I then became an Act of Parliament in the year 2010 on the 8th of April. From this the Equality Act then came into force on the 1st of October 2010.
The Equality Act merges together nine different pieces of legislation into the one Act. This was done to make it easier for the law and also to reinforce the importance of engaging in ways to stop discrimination. (The Government Equalities Office)
These are one of many acts that have been brought out to help bring change to those people whose socio-economic status is low. (Especially resilient children as they are less disadvantaged)
Socio-economic status (SES) means ‘An individual’s or group’s position within a hierarchical social structure’
SES has an impact on how people get on in life, as SES can depend on someone’s income, occupation, their education, where the live and their overall health.
SES highly interlinks with poverty. According to The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) 25 % of children in Scotland are currently living in poverty.
This greatly impacts children because if their parents/carers do not have sufficient money to cater for their child, can result in their child having a poor diet, poor health, lack books/toys to stimulate learning which may result in being bullying by other children because they do not ‘fit’ in, from this children will have low cases of self-esteem and not want to go to school which results in truanting. Depending on where families live, this can have an impact on a child because if the family live in a rundown estate, where there are high levels of violence and crime then parents/carers may not allow their child to be go out and play which results in a lack of opportunities for outdoor play and active learning.
Also, if the child’s parents do not have a job or they do not value education as important then they may encourage their child to leave school early.
Children whose family income is low and their parents/carers cannot afford to buy them sufficient food, clothes etc. these children may be stereotyped by other children. For example, because they do not ‘fit’ in with the other children then they may be classified as being the ‘poor/dirty’ children.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a further piece of legislation. On the 19th of April 1990 The UK signed the Convention, following the ratification on the 16th of December 1991.The UNCRC was brought out to protect children’s rights, to aid them in meeting their basic needs and to maximise their opportunities in reaching their full potential. (Convention on the Rights of the Child)
In the 54 articles, there are several which relate to the sex of the child. Regardless of being a boy/girl, these articles were set out for all individual children, to provide every child with equal opportunities and to make it fair for every child. Article 7 of the UNCRC emphasises how everyone should be treated the same regardless of sex, race, ethnic background: ‘the law is the same for everyone; it should be applied in the same way to all’
Article 23 states: ‘You have the right to work, to be free to choose your work, to get a salary which allows you to support your family. If a man and a woman do the same work, they should get the same pay. All people who work have the right to join together to defend their interests’.
In some cases, gender roles/sex can be discriminated upon in work places between a man and a woman. For example, if the man has worked there longer, then he may be payed more to the woman who has just started. However, they both are doing the same job.
According to Lindon (1998) many years ago men/boys were valued more than women/girls.
This impacts staff in settings because it has been said that adults working with children, behave in a different way to a girl than they do to a boy. This is evident as Lindon (1998) states that ‘boys are more likely to be encouraged towards active physical behaviour (which is not necessarily aggressive) and adults seem to tolerate more dominant or aggressive behaviour in boys before it is regarded as a problem’
However, the UNCRC puts emphasis on fairness and how every child has equal opportunities. It is our role as educators to encourage all children to experience a wide range of experiences regardless of gender.
Stereotyping can also occur with sex/gender roles as Lindon (1998) says that boys may be told when they cry ‘big boys don’t cry’ or when a girl shouts someone may say ‘it’s not nice to shout, you should be more ladylike’. This is stereotyping as everyone regardless of age, sex, race etc. have feelings.
Gender roles impact staff as they have to provide children in nurseries/schools with various resources for girls and boys and not just encouraging girls to the art area or boys to the construction but encouraging all children as individuals to all areas of the nursery regardless of their gender.
In conclusion it is clear to see that legislation impacts staff and children in many ways. It is our role as educators to value each and every child as an individual regardless of their age, gender, race, sex.
J.Lindon (1998) Equal Opportunities in Practice Chapter 2. Good Practice with Boys and Girls Hodder and Stoughton
CPAG in Scotland (2010)
Assessed on: 29/10/10
Convention on the Rights of the Child: Path to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2008)
Accessed on: 31/10/10
Cultural Dictionary: Socioeconomic status (SES) (2010)
Accessed on: 28/10/10
The Government Equalities Office, Equality Act 2010
Accessed on: 28/10/10
The Government Equalities Office: Equality Act 2010:What do I need to know?
Accessed on: 28/10/10