How are children’s voices heard and reflected in your statement of philosophy?
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > How are children’s voices heard and reflected in your statement of philosophy?

How are children’s voices heard and reflected in your statement of philosophy?

by Freya Lucas

November 18, 2022

Be You, a specialist national initiative that equips educators to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people from birth to 18 years, offers an end-to-end approach for early learning services, school age care services, primary schools, and secondary schools across Australia, supporting them to reflect more deeply on their practice. 


Recently Be You shared a case study from Active Kids Moore Park, outlining the process around reviewing the service’s Statement of Philosophy, and how the voices of the whole learning community guided the review process. 


Extracts from the case study (available in full here) have been shared in the piece below. 


Shared vision 


The review process started with the educator team dedicating time during staff meetings to reflect on why and what they do, how they came to early childhood education and unpacking the impact of their values and beliefs on their practice. 


A goal-oriented process  


Reflective practice at Active Kids Moore Park is considered critical for making informed actions. As such, when it came time to review the statement of philosophy, the educators, the children, families and wider learning community were involved.


By having everyone engaged in active participation in reviewing the philosophy the resulting document was in full alignment with the service’s commitment to respecting, valuing and responding appropriately to all voices.


Be You consultant Carmen Huser was also involved in the process, highlighting tools and resources such as the Be You Statement of Commitment and Planning for Empowerment to incorporate a strong mental health lens in the review process.


She also offered guidance on involving young children in the process to enable the connection between children’s rights to participation and their mental health.


The children’s voices


“Involving the children was also the most rewarding and satisfying part of the review process”, Service Coordinator Suzie Braumann explained. 


Whilst the leadership team sought involvement of key community stakeholders, the children’s voices were the most crucial. 


Ms Braumann drew on the regular practice of children contributing to the educational program, daily routines, and their Quality Improvement Plan. After speaking to Carmen, Suzie took inspiration from the Be You Implementation story, Including young children’s voices.


Capturing ideas


With small groups of pre-school children, Ms Braumann led conversations using big boards, visual aids and photos to drive the conversation. Children quickly felt empowered to lead the conversations themselves.


Children’s authentic participation 


The existing philosophy statement had headings, such as vision, goals, and the stakeholders: educators, children, families, community. These headings, as well as, the principles underpinning the National Quality Standard formed the basis for the conversations with the children. 


They provoked the children to talk about the diversity of families in the community; friendships; their rights; everyone’s feelings and wellbeing. The children’s interpretation of these significantly contributed to the new statement.


Positive relationships, knowing the children, trust and child-friendly time frames made this review process so successful.


The statement is now framed and proudly displayed at the early learning service for everyone to see.


Services are invited to reflect on the way children’s voices are being incorporated into their philosophies and daily practice. The In Focus webinar The voice of the child may support. 

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