How to gather Children’s Interests at your Centre and give them opportunities to have a “Voice” and be heard.
- Graffiti Wall – place a large sheet of paper on a wall in a central location with sticky notes and coloured pens. Invite the children to share their ideas, suggestions, questions and concerns. Maybe even think about a focus question?
- Take it to your staff meetings and talk about what is written and how you will program the ideas as a team.
- Establish a Children’s advisory group (9-12 year olds) and invite the children to attend a staff meeting to bring their ideas that they have gathered from all of the children.
- Collect information, which promotes children’s voices, such as: (a) invite children to ‘vote’ on their favourite experiences, activities, or part of the program – use a pictograph where they can draw a quick symbol beside activities that they like (b) survey the children, by inviting the older children to survey younger children (c) when Educators hear children suggesting’s ideas or talking about existing activities, write it down in a notebook that can be brought to a planning meeting (d) colourful suggestion boxes’ a whiteboard with coloured pens- photograph at the end of the week(f) photograph spontaneous play that can be extended upon(g)place a children’s interest section at the end of your enrolment form that can be removed and form part of the child’s interest log. Update every 6 months (h) have a page for each child on a computer/tablet where children can type in their own interests and suggestions
The key is for the educator is to be attuned to the child’s play, conversations and activity for clues to each child’s interests.
Do you know your children’s current interests?
Do you know what certain age groups are interested in at the moment?
Do you know the trends?
Provide opportunities for children in your service to express their point of view. Remember the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child:
Article 12 – “Respect for the views of the child’, is particularly relevant to children’s participation as active citizens and learners: “When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.”
Ask questions that clearly invite children’s views:
- What do you think about?
- How do you feel when?
- What do you like about?
- What makes you think about?
- What makes you feel that way?
REMEMBER TO BE INCLUSIVE OF CHILDREN WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS AT YOUR SERVICE AND USE STRATEGIES THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO FIND OUT THEIR INTERESTS AND SUGGESTIONS AS WELL AS ALLOWING THEM TO HAVE A VOICE AT YOUR CENTRE.