Did you get chance to read the recent children’s manifesto, Guess how much we love you: Why politicians urgently need to help our children, ? It was published by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield. In it she sets out the commitment that all political parties need to make to children to ensure they can enjoy their childhood, achieve and have success in life. She also emphasises how important this is, not only for children themselves, but for society as a whole. For example, in her introduction she writes: ‘…it’s critical for this country’s prospects. Today’s children are our future economic prosperity, our tax payers and wealth producers, our support in our own old ages. But this generation will also need to change the world – to tackle the challenges of environmental degradation, to shape the opportunities of the digital era, and to address global complexity around citizenship, immigration and employment. There is a clear economic and social imperative to do the very best we can by the next generation’ (p. 1).
Although we agree that it is highly important to raise awareness for politicians about their responsibilities towards children, this quotation from the manifesto does seem to lay a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of children. This made us wonder what a really selfless manifesto would look like, particularly in terms of younger children. What promises should we be making to children, not based on what they can do for us in the furture, but purely in terms of what we can do for them. Ideally we should really be asking children, they might have very different ideas to ours. However in the meantime we have come up with a list of our own…..
The Contemplating Childhood’s Manifesto for young children
- We will respect play as a key way that you learn, grow, develop and be happy.
- We will listen to you.
- We will let you be outdoors as much as you need to be.
- We will let you get dirty and messy.
- We will read you lovely stories so that you grow up to love reading and books.
- We will make sure you are safe and that you can keep yourself safe.
- We will make sure you can meet and play with children from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures.
- We will model kindness
- We will care about your parents.
- We will make sure you have enough good food to eat.
There was much more we could have added but thought we should stick to the first 10 that came to mind. But what about you? What would be on your list? Have we missed something really important? What promises do you think we should make to young children – we’d love to know what you think?