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  • Joe Sims

Watering the seeds

Morning you lovely lot! Firstly, the sun! The lovely, lovely sun! Let’s enjoy this brief window when we drink in its warm loveliness before we all moan about how hot it is in about a fortnight! Talking of warm loveliness, this week’s nomination comes from our brilliant member Kelly Sloan who has worked as an early years educator for over two decades and who’s nursery in Croydon and the families in it have been ravaged by the effects of the pandemic. We were looking to do something following the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and what better use of this week’s money to empower and educate the young people at Kelly’s nursery giving them identifiable role models to aspire to? Thanks as always for being brilliant and always being the sunshine in a sometimes all too cold world x

Dear Joe and the 500 reasons team, I would like to make a nomination to provide a local nursery with multicultural books and resources. In September 2020, I started work at a charity nursery in Croydon. The nursery has been serving the local community for 20 years and is located in one of the most deprived wards of the borough. Many of our children and families have complex needs. Some rely on the food bank that operates from our premises. We have families that originate from all over the world, with the majority coming from Africa, The Caribbean and South Asia. Many of our amazing children can speak and understand two languages at the ages of two to four, and for some English is an additional language. The pandemic, in addition to our families’ existing circumstances, has had an impact on the children’s development and wellbeing. It has also affected the nursery financially. Our cook has been made redundant and we can no longer provide hot meals for the children. I’m writing this on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. His murder sparked a global movement which caused people to engage in conversations about racism. Early years educators have been reflecting on their practice and the importance of education to make change. As an early years educator for 22 years in Bristol and London, I have always struggled to find books and resources that represent the Black and Asian children and families that I work with. According to a study in 2017 only 1% of children’s books published in the UK have a Black, Asian or minority ethnic main character. Children need to see positive representations of people that look like them to support the development of their identity and self-esteem, but also to learn about others. Some of our children struggle to accept and embrace their own skin and hair, preferring to look like ‘Elsa from frozen’. An inclusive learning environment helps children to understand and accept the differences and similarities between themselves and others. Our books and resources are in desperate need of updating as they are damaged and outdated. New books, dolls etc, would be of great benefit to our children and families. I would love to purchase some books and resources from local black owned businesses such as Book Love Carnival, Cocoa Girl Magazine and Nana Dolls to name a few. I’m looking forward to transforming the children’s book areas, and can’t wait to see their reactions! Thank you for considering my nomination Kind Regards Kelly Sloan This is a great bookshop to check out: https://www.thisisbooklove.com/
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