Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in Working with Children, in the ‘Professional Development’ series, aims to arm practitioners who work with children with a one-stop resource for recognising and combating exclusion and discrimination of all kinds. As such it is very comprehensive and contains excellent definitions of key terms, such as ’stereotype’ and ’self esteem’, as well as a thoroughgoing survey of the differences and diversities that practitioners will encounter among the children they work with. Indeed the definitions of some of the terms are repeated in several chapters, but this has the benefit of enabling each chapter to stand alone for those who do not want to read the entire book. The book is up-to-the-minute, practical and well-indexed, in a way that makes it easy to dip into. The wide coverage of the book probably makes it more value-for-money for new entrants and students (and perhaps volunteers) in the field of working with children, as any experienced professional would already be aware of the existence of most of the issues.
However, the sections devoted to ‘putting principles into practice’ and some of the outline information on religious festivals and cultural factors, for instance, are likely to become an invaluable resource for anyone working with children. As a secondary school teacher, my initial reaction was that ‘anyone working with children who doesn’t know this stuff shouldn’t be in the job’. However, having dug deeper into it, the central aim of the book started to have its effect, and I found myself examining how much I really think about these issues and asking how well do I know the different needs of my pupils?
Any book which encourages workers in this field to reflect and reappraise their everyday actions has to be worthy of a space on the professional’s bookshelf.
Griffin, S. (2008) Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in Working with Children