The Media Initiative for Children Respecting Difference programme (MIFC) is an evidence- based intervention programme aimed at improving long term outcomes. It aims to support children, staff, parents and communities become more aware of diversity and difference issues, with the anticipated outcome being that ‘young children will respect those who are different’. Evidence suggests that implementation promotes positive attitudes to physical, social, and cultural differences amongst young children, practitioners, and parents.
To date, more than ninety Sharing from the Start settings have been trained in the programme, with many already implementing this in their nursery and preschool settings. The training and subsequent implementation is supporting the delivery of the Sharing from the Start outcomes, both educational outcomes and cross-community cohesion, inclusion and diversity through Shared Education.
One of the nursery teachers from Bligh’s Lane Nursery attended the MIFC training in January 2019 and recognised how the programme could enhance outcomes for their children, parents, and the wider community. As a staff team involved in Sharing from the Start, they identified that if all staff could access the training it would empower and support them to deliver the programme to full fidelity. Delivery of the MIFC programme to the ten staff from Bligh’s Lane Nursery took place virtually in October 2020. Covid-19 restrictions meant that the use of an online platform was utilised effectively, participatory evaluation indicated that all staff developed their knowledge of the MIFC programme, skills for implementing and confidence in addressing issues around diversity over the three days delivery.
Feedback also indicated that virtual engagement in the training provided opportunities for practitioners to reflect on their own values, attitudes, and prejudices. Exploration of the messages and resources demonstrated that the programme would complement the current pre-school curriculum and will enhance the shared and educational outcomes of Sharing from The Start.
The staff are looking forward to implementing the MIFC programme and embarking on Year 4 of the Sharing from the Start project with their partner settings, Stepping Stones and Cockhill Playgroups.