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Do Children have a Priverlidged Place in Society?

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Introduction

To be privileged suggests that children have an advantage within a society and are favoured over others. In addition, it suggests that children live full, healthy and happy lives, that they enjoy emotional stability and varied and enjoyable learning experiences. This essay will focus on whether young children in England have a privileged place in society in the twenty first century. Since the year '2000' there have been a number of significant changes in government policy in the way young children are viewed, educated and their welfare protected, particularly in the early years phase of childhood. This essay will explore how these changes have affected the child's status within society and their quality of life by exploring how the child's needs, rights and social context are addressed. Finally conclusions will be drawn to whether government policy ensures that all young children have a privileged place in England. In England there has been a rapid development of legislation, policy and initiatives to ensure that young children receive the best possible care and services and ensure a privileged place within this society. Indeed, even the Queen's Speech 2005 prioritised our youngest citizens with no less than four points addressing the welfare of children, education and family support. (The Guardian 2005) [online] The development of policy regarding children is informed by current social constructions of childhood. Towards the end of the last century, Rousseau's romantic view of childhood dominated legislation and policy that put child concern and the protection of children at the forefront of social agenda. The view that young children are vulnerable, innocent and need protection by way of rights and legislation was, and still is high on ...read more.

Middle

Children's participation in the development of services is endorsed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; in addition The Children's Act 1989 represents a number of principles that demonstrates respect for the views of children, however, over the last decade the child's involvement has been limited. Nevertheless, the importance of considering children's views has gained momentum in recent years. Studies have been commissioned and undertaken within the early years to consult with children about the services they receive such as 'Listening to Young Children: the mosaic approach' (Clark and Moss 2001) and 'Children's views on Childcare Quality' (Mooney and Blackburn 2003). In addition many early years Development and Childcare Partnerships (EYDCPs) have undertaken formal consultation with children as part of their childcare audit. "According to the 2000/1 survey of 95 EYDCPs, 84 percent had consulted with children." (DfEE 2001 p.3) Further more Surestart's 'Here by Right' website offers standards to enable private and voluntary organisations to map and improve the way forward to enable the active participation of young children in decision-making. This all points to children within the early years playing a more active role in the care and education they receive. Being involved in making decisions that effect ones life is a right that has been enjoyed by adults in England for many years. This is a basic human right, therefore giving children this right cannot be seen as privileged, quite the opposite, it demonstrates an oppressive society who for many years has controlled and dominated young children, and only now is beginning to value the child as a person in their own right. ...read more.

Conclusion

In: Woodhead, M and Montgomery, H (Eds) Understanding Childhood, An interdisciplinary approach, Chichester. Open University Press/John Wiley & Sons Ltd Clark, A. and Moss, P. (2001) Listening to Young Children. The Mosaic Approach. London: National Children's Bureau. DfEE (2001) A Survey of Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships February 2001. EYDCP Report 36. London: Department for Education and Employment DfES (2000) Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation stage, London, QCA Franklin, B (2002) Children's Rights and Media Wrongs. In: Franklin, B (Ed) The New Handbook of Children's Rights: Comparative Policy and Practice, London. Routledge Gittins, D (1998) The Child in Question, London. Macmillan Press Ltd Hodge, M (2000) Foreword - Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, London. QCA Jackson, S (2004) Early Childhood policy and Services in: Maynard, T and Thomas, N (Eds) An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies, London. Sage Publications Ltd James, A and Prout, A, (Eds) (1997) Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood. Contemporary Issues in the Sociological Studies of Childhood. London, The Falmer press Joslyn, E, Such, C and Bond ,E (2005) Social Policy: The state, The Family and Young Children in: Taylor, J and Woods, M (Eds) Early Childhood Studies: An Holistic Introduction, New York. Edward Arnold Publishes LTD Mayall, B (1994) Children's Childhoods Observed and Experienced. London. The Falmer Press Maynard, T and Thomas, N (2004) (Eds) An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies, London. Sage Publications Ltd Moss, P and Penn, H (1996) Transforming Nursery Education, London. Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd Penn, H (2005) Understanding Early Childhood: Issues and Controversies, Maidenhead. Open University Press Stainton Rogers, W (2004) Promoting Better Childhoods: Constructions of Child Concern in: Kehily, M, Ed An Introduction to Childhood Studies, Maidenhead. Open University Press Periodicals Tolfree, D. and Woodhead, M. (1999) Tapping a key resource. Early Childhood Matters, 91, 19-23. ...read more.

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