… she said to me that I am xenophobic … I never expected this reaction and was really feeling bad and shocked …

About the BODI Project

From early childhood the family and the educational system everywhere have the dedicated role conveying the cultural norms and values of the given society. They do so even with values regarding the human body. Our very basic concepts of the body such as body image, body functions, health, hygiene, ability and disability and more complex and socially embedded ones, such age, gender, sexuality, relationships also crucially formed from early childhood in and by the educational system. Part of this process lead by explicit pedagogical aims from the school side but some of those unconsciously convey messages which reflect the values of the society. National curricula based on written pedagogical methodology, child-psychological theories and the cultural tradition of a given country. This background gives the educational systems the guidelines: what is considered being ´normal´, accepted or socially unacceptable, dysfunctional, pathological. These guidelines sometimes enter in conflict with the norms and values held by parents. A recent example was the resistance brought by parents towards the introduction of “gender” in French schools, leading to the withdrawal of good part of the reforms. In multicultural societies such occasions for divergence or opposite values can occur more and more frequently, even if not at the national scale, but in the form of isolated incidents.

In this context our project wishes to:
1) Contribute to the development of education policies and practices on intercultural education, gender education and inclusion of children / parents of minority cultural backgrounds – through our analysis of existing practices and the assessment of the method we develop.
2) Contribute to the development of teachers’ competences through new methods for teacher training and new practical tools ready to adapt, concretely:
• Develop an understanding of cultural differences having an impact on early childhood education, develop tools to solve possible tensions and conflicts
• Develop skills and creative tools to address issues of cultural diversity, gender, and health with the children
• Offer tools to involve parents (of migrant and non migrant origin) and engage them in dialogue about sensitive issues such as cultural differences, gender, body, health
3) Contribute to the development of school’s capacity to address cultural diversity, to ensure that children of different cultural backgrounds and their parents are not excluded and equip children for participation in an intercultural society tolerant towards gender diversity. Offer tools and strategies to address sensitive issues such as gender.