As part of a UNICEF project 'Respect for Diversity and Multiculturalism in Early Childhood', a team from the Centre of Shared Education visited Macedonia in 2014 to lead a workshop on respect for diversity in the early years. Inspired by this, colleagues from the Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in Skopje created a series of resources to stimulate learning about diversity among pre-school children. These have been shared across schools in Macedonia and are now a mandatory part of the early years curriculum.
Professor Violeta Petroska-Beshka, co-director of the CHRCR, explained the development of these resources:
'A team from Northern Ireland, led by Queen’s University professors Joanne Hughes and Ruth Leitch, carried out a workshop for participants in Macedonia at which they shared their experiences and findings from research with young children. They emphasized that children are aware of diversity from a very early age and it is important that they learn how to respect. The learning should be based on clear messages that can address stereotypes and prejudices directly. The research team exposed the participants to the model of Early Years - Media Initiative for Children (MIFC), developed in Northern Ireland. This was used by the CHRCR team as the basis for developing the original approach that uses children books, workshops and posters to teach respect for diversity to pre-school children in kindergartens.'
The resources from Macedonia are available through the UNICEF website: https://www.unicef.org/tfyrmacedonia/campaigns_29050.htm