Making Children Visible

Making Children Visible

I was lucky enough to spend a month visiting my son in Australia recently. It was an amazing experience. One of the things that struck me was how visible children are in the community. Síolta (Standard: 16 Community Involvement) and Aistear (Theme: Identity and Belonging) talk about community involvement and how important it is for children to feel connected with and proud of their families and communities. Many settings here at home have amazing links with their communities and help promote the idea of children being part of a community in which they are very visible.

Let me tell you about a few interesting examples I saw.

On my first day in Sydney we went to the Blue Mountains. In an area where we waited for a cable car there was a gorgeous installation, created by the Children, Staff and Parents of St Canice’s Primary school, Katoomba, called Canice and the Plastic Reef. They had used plastic shopping bags and lids, water bottles, wire, wool, beads, piping and reclaimed woods to make a statement about ‘how from our throw-away society we can not only turn waste into incredible works of art, but also reduce our impact on our seas.’

These vivid displays were thought provoking and gave us tourists a link to the local community and made the work of the children hugely visible. Maybe you have done something similar? If so we would love to hear from you!

A few days later I was in the small country town of Crookwell, south of Sydney. As my cousin and I walked around town these posters caught my eye!

There were several versions of this poster displayed in various places in the town. I thought it was a lovely, simple way for the preschool to engage with the community to try to find out where their hens had gone.

In Sydney city, I could have spent hours in a gorgeous children’s play area, near Darling Harbour. There were numerous ways for children to explore water. While the surface was mainly concrete, it consisted of different textures, with lots of features such as fountains children could play in and run through, pipes, pumps, channels, chutes, dams….so many ways for children to play in and explore water. I saw one little girl and the adult with her play for ages with this pump, swirling water and the basin the pipes led to. The little girl had a feather. As the adult pumped the water swirled into the channel and the little girl predicted where the water might take the feather to. There was no sense of keep off, keep away, it was more: Come on…explore with your body, with your ears, your eyes. Find out about water, science, language and be with your family, friends and the community. It was just beautiful.

 

Children and their families are part of our communities, and need to be seen as such. So please, share the ways you have developed in your settings to make children visible in your local village, town or other community. You can do this by commenting below, or by sending us your Learning Stories. We’d love to see them and share how we make children visible here in Ireland!

 

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