The Spirit of the Child
The concept of body, soul, and spirit of the child---our essential humanness---is at the heart of the sprit of the child. The concept of our humanness is central to the stance we take in relationship building with children; in the interactions we have with children; and, our approach to how we support children holistically. The nurturing of children’s inner humanity connects to our beliefs about protecting the early years of development and the limitation to media that often offer content that exposes children to concepts that are not developmentally appropriate, leading to the loss of wonder, imagination, and holistic play. We believe that children have a natural spirituality and we can nurture their innate reflective practices.
The Rights of the Child
Children are citizens of the world today. Our stance that the relationship between children and adults should be founded on the profound respect we have for children’s ability to contribute to the world today. Their thinking and ways of being in the world are just as profound and valued as adults. We believe in the rights of children as outlined by the United Nations “Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
“According to the UNICEF website, it is a universal set of standards that reflect a new vision of the child as neither property of their parents nor an object of charity. Put simply, “they are human beings and are the subject of their own rights.” In the Convention, it states, “children are an individual first and then a member of a family and a community with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development.” What was once considered “negotiable,” children’s needs have become legally binding rights, not a passive recipient of benefits” (Belcher-Badel, 2014).
We hope that everyone will read this remarkable document and acknowledge that children face hazards in the world daily and we can be advocates and allies for children.
The Rights of the Child in Education
We believe that children are co-learners with us. There sense of wonder, curiosity, and profound thinking should be nurtured in early childhood education. Does this mean that we believe that children are little intellects, sitting with their cup of tea and reading philosophy, no, we respect and acknowledge that children go through development stages, they laugh and cry, are silly and serious, are resilient and fragile, and all of the other ways that children are in the world. We believe that classrooms should be places of joy and discovery. To support this goal, early childhood educators should be intentional in their practice. They should observe children and connect to children’s interests. To do this early childhood educators need to be reflective practitioners, always thinking about their thinking, questioning the intention of activities as meeting the needs of the child as holistic learner, capable---with scaffolding---of directing their own learning and discover. Early childhood educators who do this document, making visible the work of children and calling attention to children’s endless possibilities.
The Role of Early Childhood Educators
At PECE we believe to support The Spirit of the Child, The Rights of the Child, and the Spirit of the Child in Education are part of an intentional journey in early childhood education. To guide that journey the team at PECE committed to sets of values, The United Nations “Convention on the Rights of the Child” and the National Association for the Education of Young Children “Code of Ethical Conduct.” Why these two documents, they offer scalability of intention. The United Nations is an international standard for the rights of children, while the NAEYC Code of Ethics is the foundation for professional practice. Why not create our own? As part of our journey, PECE believes that key connections highlight our core mission to explore possibilities and the universality of theses documents creates a common platform for conversations.