THIS GUEST BLOG POST BY CATHY BROWN TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CELEBRATING MARDI GRAS WITH YOU CHILD’S SCHOOL OR CHILD CARE CENTRE
It’s officially Mardi Gras season in NSW, and while some members of our community are working hard at the gym, for parents it’s a time to think about how we can talk to our kids about what Mardi Gras means.
Mardi Gras marks a really important part of LGBTIQ+ Australians’ history. What began as a protest has become a celebration, and a reflection on how much our community has achieved.
For parents, it’s a time when our community is once again in the spotlight. Which means it is time for rainbow parents to start thinking about how we can talk to our kids about this important cultural event for our community.
But also, how we can celebrate this important cultural milestone with our kids.
Each year at my kids’ early childhood setting they ask about important cultural celebrations for our family. I always mention Mardi Gras.
It’s a chance to have a discussion about what family diversity looks like. I am welcomed along to do some rainbow craft activities, I read some books about different types of families. And this year, we will show some pictures of our family marching together in Mardi Gras.
For my older child, the conversation is a bit different. Her school has all sorts of families. It’s an amazingly diverse and welcoming community. Last year, along with some friends, she showed a powerpoint presentation about marching in Mardi Gras with her family.
So, if you want to celebrate Mardi Gras in an early childhood setting, how should you do it?
We spoke to an expert in early childhood education, Dr Red Ruby Scarlet, Creative Director of Multiverse Educational Consultancy and Resourcing:
“LGBTIQA+ is an acronym festooned with culture. So, like any culture, including it in your early childhood curriculum means thinking about how relationships are formed within communities.”
“In the early childhood curriculum, we value the ongoing work of connecting with community in ways that recognise the diversity of the families that are local to us as well as the families that we know are part of the broader Australian identity.
“In the latest iteration of the National Quality Framework, Quality Area 6asks early childhood educators and teachers to connect with LGBTIQA+ communities whether the setting has LGBTIQA+ families attending the setting or not.
“This is a beautiful recognition of the broader diversity of Australian society along with a cross-cultural recognition that LGBTIQA+ families might be Aboriginal, they may derive from various ethnic, language, geographic and faith based denominations. Authentically celebrating Mardi Gras as a cultural celebration means we also dive into anti-bias approaches to teaching and learning.
“These approaches gently illustrate that bias hurts and that it has no place in an early childhood setting.
“We do this by demonstrating through our early childhood literature that shows early childhood educators and their families participating in Mardi Gras that to be welcomed into a culture that experiences discrimination is a lesson about how to welcome and be welcomed by diversity and difference.”