Romani Early Years Network – REYN

No more lost Romani and Traveller generations

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by Zsuzsa Laszlo and Daniel Kovacs, REYN members and Personal Doll certified trainers

“I like this method, it is a very good method that I did not know before. I think it is very useful for my work.”

“We had participants from different countries, and different cultures, sharing experiences with each other.”

“We can start working with children and break many stereotyping and conflict issues.”

These are just a few of the comments coming from some of the participants who attended the Persona Doll training held by REYN in Budapest, Hungary in December 2014.

There were 30 participants in the training, of which 14 were members from Hungary and 16 were from the international REYN network. International participants arrived from Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, UK,  Latvia, Kosovo and Slovakia.

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The goal of Persona Doll training was to empower REYN members (preschool educators and/or practitioners and paraprofessionals), working in early childhood services and programs to challenge discrimination and bias with young children and to promote equality, equity and inclusivity. The program included two days of Persona Doll training and a one day visit to a Hungarian kindergarten, where a REYN member practitioner presented a Persona Doll workshop with young children.

Persona Doll method is an effective tool to help children, aged 3-6, to explore and confront prejudice. The method originated in the USA and is widely used in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Iceland and Australia. The method provides a powerful, non-threatening and enjoyable way to raise equality issues and counter stereotypical and discriminatory thinking with young children. The dolls help children to express their feelings and ideas, think critically, challenge unfair treatment and develop empathy with people who are different from themselves.

«The training went according to our plans. REYN members were very active and enthusiastic – commented Zsuzsa Laszlo and Daniel Kovacs, the two trainers, who are members of the Hungarian REYN Network and certified Persona Doll trainers -. The Hungarian group was more specific about their in-country problems, and could focus on very practical solutions using the dolls. The international group had more cross-cultural issues and helped each other with solutions that were new to members from other countries. Networking was an important part of the training and it continued after official hours. Overall it was an excellent training and we could cover the basic material in two days. The visit to the kindergarten made a nice ending where participants could see Persona Dolls in practice».

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