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Background
 
The Ec-Pec Foundation has been implementing Persona Doll method from 2007.  Our head trainers finished a Persona Doll course in London, and the Ec-Pec Foundation received all of the necessary information and documentation that was needed to start using the Persona Doll method in Hungary. We have also received Hungarian state accreditation for a 30-hour teacher training course. Since then we have been conducting Persona Doll trainings for teachers through the country.
 
Although usually state institutions are not willing to invest into these kinds of trainings in Hungary, we have a “success story” of five kindergartens that have started using the dolls. However, we are eager to continue and offer Persona Doll methodology for kindergartens in areas of social groups with marginalized children where access to such programs is limited. These – preferably Step by Step kindergartens – will then be Persona Doll methodologykindergartens. These method centers can be visited by new teachers and serve as examples of best practice.
 
This proposal is also willing to provide opportunities for innovation and sharing Persona Doll methodology throughout the Step by Step network. Upon this call for proposals the following SbS countries showed interest in cooperating with us in this project: Croatia, Slovakia and Tajikistan. Within this cooperation we will share these countries not just the methodology of Persona Doll, but also the best practice of incorporating this model into the educational system. We will also strengthen the SbS network of early childhood professionals working with Persona Doll and hopefully provide this to other SbS countries in the future.
 
 
Persona Doll Method
 
The Persona Doll method is an effective tool to help children ages 3-6 explore and confront bias. The method originated in the USA and is widely used in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Iceland.
 
According to Babette Brown, the Ec-Pec Foundation’s mentor in this program and the head trainer of the Persona Doll method in London:
 
“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.”
 
According to the results of our trainings teacher agreed that the method offers an affective tool to talk about issues like, racism, culture, gender and other equality issues. Teachers also liked its simplicity and the hands-on experience it offers.
 
 
Broad Project Aims
 
Our main goal with this project is to support innovative high quality early childhood development education in social justice in the participating countries. We strongly believe that anti-bias education cannot be started early enough. “Children are aware very young that color, language, gender and physical ability are connected with power and privilege. Racism, sexism and other forms of systematic discrimination have a profound influence on their developing sense of self and others.” (L. Derman-Sparks and the ABC Task Force (1989), Anti-bias curriculum: Tools for empowering young children. Washington, DC: NAEYC ix.)  
 
We use a form of the Persona Doll method that has been adapted to national circumstances. Our project consists of pilot trainings, improving teachers’ skills and abilities, sharing services nationally, creating professional networks, and trying to incorporate best practices into national educational policy and higher education.
 
We have also started to produce the dolls in Hungary, according to the British standard. The dolls had such high price that could not be afforded by Hungarian kindergartens, and national production resulted a lower price. Specific characteristics (like Roma children in Hungary) also had to be elaborated by Hungarian craftsmen. During this project, all participant countries can work on their own dolls, according to the national and ethnical characteristics of their country.

 Once kindergartens have begun to use Persona Doll, national organizations will start contacting their Ministry of Education about offering in-service trainings for teachers, offering these methods in the teacher training curriculum and the national education policy.