Hi, the choices that we all make help to guide the directions we take, our knowledge and understanding and enables us to explore our preferences, what makes us who we each are and why.
The personal choices of children can be categorised as appropriate or inappropriate depending on what they are and the reasons they are being made - which is how conflict can arise with a duty to care, the level of support that's given and the knowledge of others who ensure the provision of choices & experiences - positive & negative, eg: a child may choose a plate full of chips in preference to a pasta salad. They may decide to snatch a toy instead of waiting for a turn or being asked to be involved. They may hit or pinch in response to a situation or need. They may remember to brush their teeth at bedtime and know why this is important. They may select a banana/apple instead of a biscuit. They may feel reassured and comfortable enough to disclose information about themselves, they may choose to decline an offering of a cigarette, drink of alcohol, shoplift, select fairy dust sprinkles instead of paint to decorate a piece of paper.
The latest advert from banardo's is a hard hitting example of how the choices available to children and their experiences can impact and influence a possible outcome - Michael's life story
Choices and experiences are linked to a person's independance, confidence, self esteem, maturity, abilities to problem solve, assess risk, learn, digest & embed information, source options, be socially aware, experience a sense of belonging, make informed choices, be instrumental in instructing an own direction and know where, when and how to ask for anything.
of the UN rights of the child
Giving children a voice and listening to what they want.
-- involve children in planning - the foods, toys, activities and self elected levels of participation.
-- balancing experiences that are adult led and child initiated.
-- identifying which areas of a room/setting restrict participation due to space or number of available resources and recognising where this impacts negatively on children's choice & experience.
-- recognising financial restrictions - as a setting & for individuals, that prevent children from choosing and experiencing something they have shown an interest in.
-- understanding the use of 'child centered' Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Quote from page 116 CYPW Level 3 Heinemann handbook
The importance of a child or young person centered approach.
Every child matters sends out a strong message to society and adults who care for children of the importance of each and every child. A key feature of every child matters is that each child is a unique individual who needs support from adults to achieve the best possible outcomes as they grow and develop.
Every child matters outcomes - education.gov.uk
and on Newcastle's children's services page
Early years participation toolkit 2010
published by Hertfordshire council
Google search for 'listening to children'
, NCB's early childhood forum publications
, national youth agency and the hear by right scheme
, UK youth parliament
, Voice YP.org.uk