‘My Friend Has Two Mums’ – an online professional learning course exploring gender and sexuality in early childhood
As society changes, the issues we face in early childhood change. Things we may have never thought of impacting on our work, now do. Things like sexuality and gender.
Our services are now working with children who identify with a different gender, with same sex parents, with openly gay and lesbian educators. And, importantly how we deal with these issues are part of the National Quality Standard!
But how do we learn about them? We now know a lot more about gender and sexuality than we probably did when you studied at Uni or TAFE. But, till now, there has never been a course where you could learn about things such as:
• how to do inclusion right for children and families of all genders and sexualities
• what the I in LGBTI+ actually means
• unknowing discrimination of children and families
• rainbow families
• heterosexual, lesbian, and, gay educators
But now there is.
‘My friend has 2 mums’: exploring gender and sexuality in early education and care, is the course you need to learn all the things you’ve wondered about.
The best things about this course?
1. It’s inexpensive. Only $220 for the whole course.
2. You can do it from home. You will receive access to 13 videos to watch, readings, practical tasks, and Dr Red Ruby Scarlet’s ongoing support via a Facebook Live to talk you through the topic areas and to answer any questions.
3. You can fit it in. The course is available to you for 12 months to watch at your leisure.
4. It’s delivered by subject matter experts. People like Professor Kerry Robinson, Anthony Semann, Nana Miss Koori – 13 different presentations in all.
5. It’s practical. It will relate to your service, your role, your children, your colleagues, now.
6. It’s NESA approved. If you are a NSW teacher you receive 20 hours accredited training for this one course.
7. It’s a MutiVerse course. It’s been developed by Dr Red Ruby Scarlet so it will be fun, lively, colourful, and practice driven.
Course Content and Presenters:
The content videos will consist of interviews between Dr Red Ruby Scarlet and those listed below:
Module 1. Queer Thinking in Early Childhood – Professor Kerry H Robinson
Module 2. The National Quality Framework – Nicholas Stewart
Module 3. Putting Inclusive Policies in Place – Anthony Semann
Module 4. Using Anti-Bias Approaches – Jill Huntley
Module 5. A Transgender Early Childhood Educator – Sharon Priestley
Module 6. Heterosexuality as an Identity – Michael McGirr
Module 7. Transitioning as Parents – Teighan & Tammie Cosier
Module 8. Queer Pedagogies – Stephen Gallen
Module 9. Intersex Identities – Dr Agli Zavros-Orr
Module 10. Living Non-Binary – Danny Xanadu
Module 11. Leadership and Life – Sarah Louise & Ace Dean
Module 12. Aboriginal Queerness and Queeness – Nana Miss Koori/Graham Simms
Module 13. Rainbow Families – Ashley Scott and Cathy Brown
Once you have registered for this course you will be added to a secret Facebook Group called “My Friend Has Two Mums 2020” where discussion about the content will take place. The Facebook group is secret so that participants have a safe space to learn, discuss and share. The expert videos, readings, and tasks, will be discussed and your questions can be posed there for Dr Red Ruby Scarlet who will host a Zoom meeting intermittently to support you with the content. Tasks are encouraged for all participants for deep learning and are necessary for those claiming NESA hours in NSW.
Art work by Liv
MultiVerse lives with grace on beautiful Gadigal Country
Testimonials from past course participants
“My Friend has Two Mums” is the course on gender and sexuality that I didn’t realise I was needing. I signed up on a whim, and it turns out this has been the most significant professional development of my career. The long term structure of this course allowed me to absorb the information, process how I could put this new knowledge into action at my service, and bounce ideas off the supportive Facebook group – all before moving onto the next content piece.
Through this learning our service has been able to build on our sexuality and diversity resources and policy, develop LGBTQIA+ support networks, and look at our paperwork through a queer lens to build on our inclusive practice. I strongly endorse this course for all early childhood professionals, as you will gain so much from the content both individually and for your service.”
“My friend has two mums” is an absolutely brilliant course for all early childhood educators. For me as an early childhood teacher, I used to struggle with how to tackle gender and sexuality bias among children. For some people, it can be challenging and even hard to bring it up. After taking this course, I started to look into my practice and put my queer lens on, especially in children’s play and how the room is set up. I enjoyed the theoretical part of this course which lays the foundation of the anti-bias practice. I particularly enjoyed the interviews with different guest speakers and listening to their stories, which left me with heaps questions to think about. I am a practitioner of the anti-bias approach and I am just grateful about the existence of this course which gave me some really good perspectives on how to practice the anti-bias approach in a genuine and meaningful way – so much love for this course and everyone who was involved.”
“In signing up for My Friend Has Two Mums, I envisioned getting a range of resources and connections that would expand my knowledge and passion for an area of human development i found intriguing. What I didn’t expect was the multiple other doors, concepts and ways of thinking that I would engage with. I found myself challenging my practice, my thought processes and the learning community around me. I went on a journey into the depths of my personal soul that allowed me to reconnect with who I am and how I connect with others. This is a course that educators must sign up for to expand their knowledge and ways of thinking around inclusion. Those that do join should ultimately be prepared for the life this will take on and the ripples that will form around you in the most magical way.”
“I completed the course with a small group of educators across our service. Personally, I found the course allowed me to explore my understandings, challenge assumptions and to gain new information. The ability to access the course content in my own time allowed me the opportunity to find relaxed, uninterrupted moments when I was ready to be challenged. It also allowed me to go back and revisit content that I needed to review again to seek further insight.
As a group of educators accessing the course together it encouraged and inspired reflective conversations and deep thinking. We could each unpack and discuss our own learning and how it related to our service. It was some of the smallest comments or insights in the course content that have remained with me and had the biggest impact. A brilliant course with inspirational content with thoughtful personal delivery!”
“This course has been fabulous in opening my mind to many situations, experiences and thinking’s that I’ve not been aware of or had exposure to. The format and ‘do at your own pace’ style has been very useful to me. I’ve really valued the different perspectives and the growing of a more inclusive lens that I now view my own practices and those of my team through. I’m questioning things a lot more, having conversations with colleagues and families about what I’m learning and developing a great library of resources.”
“Do you want access to some brilliant minds who understand (and live) advocacy around gender and sexuality and their beautiful venn-diagramminess with early childhood practice? Are you looking for a new lens with which to view humanity and our ethical responsibilities to the wonderfully diverse children, families and colleagues within our profession and community?
This course is the full package -
- get clear explanations and demystifications of sex, gender, orientation, and the ways we identify ourselves on the spectrum of human sexuality
- consider what this beautiful rainbow spectrum means in our practice and what thinking we may need to shift or expand to see from new (child and adult) perspectives
- critique the messages that mainstream binaryheterornormativestandards send to children from birth and the exclusion that is all around us (once you see it clearly, you see it everywhere… you know? ‘I see heteronormatively-biased people. All the time. Walking around. They don’t know they’re biased...’)
- learn a squillion affirming strategies – from tweaking forms to reflect family reality, to resourcing and supporting play, to advocating with your peers (you won‘t be a lone voice in this…you’ll have Red and a great group of interactive kindred colleagues along with you on your journey).
- hear from academics, practitioners, families, lawyers (well, one), artists –pioneers in our diverse landscape whose lived experiences add priceless richness to this important learning.
I didn’t quite expect the impact this course would have on my personal and professional selves! (Intrinsically ‘entwingled‘ as they are 😉).
I have learnt so much, (aka blown my mind) and as well as working away at changing aspects of practice in my current workspace, I am now looking at moving into this area of work in the early childhood and community sector. I have growing engagement with the Queer community, have challenged lil ol‘ me to live my own authentic self, have been on a beautiful advocacy journey with one of my offspring, have met amazing new people and learned first-hand how demystifying and celebrating diverse gender and sexuality is the only route that makes sense.
This course is a springboard for diving into wonderful new waters! Truly transformative!
(Red, thankyou from the bottom, sides and top of my heart for all the you you have put into this ground-breaking course!)
“When information about “My friend has two mums” came to my attention I jumped in quickly to see what it was about. It has given me perspectives I didn’t know I needed, it has been wonderful to hear so many real stories from people about their lives, underpinned by policy and theory.
The online flexibly format is wonderful for those working, allowing you to review and think, taking it all in. The course has made me think and review and reassess our practices, our environments and our language.
I have waited with anticipation for the next component of the course, excited to hear more and learn from others.”
“I discussed Peer pedagogy with my staff and gave them a copy of Prof Robinson’s article. It gave us lots of food for thought and rich discussion. The staff were immediately motivated and excited that I was doing the course and it would be informing our discussions and practices. The content from Nick was equally well received as everyone was shocked that anti discrimination laws actually don’t protect people as there are so many loop holes written into them. I reread the NATIONAL QUALITY FRAMEWORK GUIDE to discuss with staff and ensured these were covered along with the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, Job descriptions, philosophy to ensure everyone on the team understands that we have expectations. We used this to as a starting point to inform our strategic plan. I had updated our inclusion policy a number of years ago when I saw Anthony Semann speak. After watching Anthony and Red speak I went back and reread our policy and reflected upon his comment “you don’t get to choose which parts of inclusion you do”. I realised that I was doing the easy bits but maybe shying away from standing my ground on advocacy if it could cause conflict with parents. It was very timely that a parent challenged us the very morning that we erected the Rainbow flag. I was able to pass on information including a copy of our policy in a respectful manner which was still true to our beliefs. He did not challenge any further. Content area 4 I must admit, until I watched Jill’s content area I had not given much thought to the idea that one of my educators could be gay and me not know it. I had been focused more on supporting children and families than my own educators. 😬 it informed practice around how simple it really is to be inclusive. It is all about “love”. It gave us words to use around simply being kind and for our preschool to be a safe place for EVERYONE. It gave us ideas if how to entwine anti bias practices across the curriculum- similar to what we do now with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander perspectives. I have begun to collect resources that reflect more diverse family groupings and identities. I found the Facebook thread very helpful for this. One of the positive aspects of Facebook was the networking side of things. My next step was to begin to write a QIP on developing a bank of resources so that we can be ready with the right resources when they are needed by a family, child or educator. I hope the Facebook page will be available for some time so that we can keep going back to it as needed to revise some content as I grow more confident and incorporate more of the information in to daily practice. The blogs and web pages we have been given links to, will be so useful into the future including those from Rainbow families Content 13, those on intersex people Content area 5 and Sharon’s Blog Content Area 9on her transition. These are all part of the bank of information I can share with educators and families as needed. Sharon opened my eyes to the need to be ready rather than reactionary when it comes to supporting educators, families and children. Her video was so helpful re language and the staff have been mindful in applying this new knowledge. As a staff we have had discussions about language and its power. We have been reflecting upon the way we use language to reinforce binaries and causing offence or distress and we now have alternatives and remind each other encouragingly if we slip into bad habits. Content Area 11 was also helpful in this discussion. There has been a lot of reflection around celebrations such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and the way we cater for diverse family groupings. While we were already having these discussions, the families that told their stories in the course added to our understanding and added another layer of complexity to our reflection and thinking. I have brought this knowledge to discussions with my management committee around preschool celebrations. We have been re-writing our Codes of Conduct for both Parents and Educators. Michael informed this process by shining a spotlight on a variety of behaviours which work against inclusion. A survey of our core values gave me wonderful values to base these on. I have had a working group of parents helping me rewrite the codes to be more literal at identifying behaviour that supports these values and calling out the behaviours that conflict with these values.”
MultiVerse Product Videos
The Anti Bias in Early Childhood Approach Edited by Red Ruby Scarlet
Fair’s Fair: How to Tackle Bias in Education & Care Services by Red Ruby Scarlet & Lisa Bryant
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