The starting point for working effectively with any children is to respect and value the child for being him or herself. A common criticism of practitioners is the tendency to focus so much on the area of development, the impairment or condition, that the child becomes a problem that has to be solved. This can lead to low self-esteem and underachievement, which is one reason why the Code of Practice stresses the importance of children having an active voice and involvement in their care and education. Thus chapter looks at the importance of building strong relationships with children, but also of finding ways to empower and involve them in their own care and education.
The Code of Practice
A good starting point is to look at the Code of Practice and its requirements in relation to involving children. The Code states as one of its principles that local authorities must have regard to ‘the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person, and the child’s parents’.
In addition, the Code states that this principle is designed to support ‘the participation of children, their parents and young children in decision-making’.
As well as the Code of Practice, there is also other legislation in place, notably their related to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC), which gives children a right to have their views considered when decisions are being made that will impact on them.
‘Children have a right to receive and impart information, to express an opinion and to have that opinion taken into account in any matters affecting them from the early years. Their views should be given due weight according to their age, maturity and capability.’
Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child
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