Safe Children Happy Parents!

Some weeks ago Playtime Seychelles got a donation of 50000 SCR for our project “Safe Children Happy Parents!”.

On Friday I ordered 1000 copies of the new version of our publication “Safe Children Happy Parents!” from the printer. The publication is in line with Playtime Seychelles goal to promote and advocate safe environments for small children. This publication is a part of a series of six publications about safe environments for small children.

In this blogpost I will share this safety publication with you.

Children explore their surroundings with great curiosity, unaware of all the risk that exist around them. For this reason, you as an adult need to keep a step ahead, in order to prevent accidents. The best thing you can do is always to keep an eye on them. Continue reading “Safe Children Happy Parents!”

Composting with children- a funny and educational activity!

 

Composting is a natural biological process of decomposition and recycling of organic material (such as leaves, grass, fruit and vegetable scraps and food waste) into dark brown crumbly soil smells like forest.

Composting teaches children how the environment works, nature’s way of recycling and the life cycle. To raise children’s awareness of the environment by introduce them to the basic principles of taking responsibility for the waste they generate through composting.

Composting helps children to understand the three environmental r’s recycle, reuse and reduce. Children learn the difference between biodegradable products and what ends up in a landfill.

Composting with children teaches them that organic wastes are potential resources that can be converted into soil rather than just something “gross” that we throw away. Children learn through direct experience that they can make a difference and that their actions can have a positive effect on the environment.

Composting with children is a hands-on science experience and also an introduction into the world of science especially biology, chemistry and physics.

Talk to children about what happens to the waste. Where do they think waste go? We put the waste in a bin. Wheredoes the waste go after the bin is emptied? What happens then? Waste that we throw away is taken to a “big rubbish dump” which is calledlandfill. What will happen to the waste then? Some waste willdecompose and disappear. This is biodegradable waste. Other rubbish doesn’t decompose which means it stays at a landfill forever. This is non-biodegradable waste.

Continue reading “Composting with children- a funny and educational activity!”

Let’s plant!

Gardening is fun for children and at the same time, they gain important knowledge and skills. They learn about the different plants and what a plant needs to grow. They also learn about different cycles, seasons weather, flowers, fruits and vegetables, insects, birds, wildlife, mini beasts, and about science and scientific concepts. Gardening is the ultimate hands-on botany lesson!

 

For urban children, gardening and planting can offer a connection to nature, caring for a plant and nurturing it, develops a positive relationship with nature.

For some children, is this maybe their first experience to care for a living thing. To care for a plant teaches children responsibility and also respect for all living things. Their social skills will be developed, by working with other children and adults; children learn important life skills, such as cooperating and sharing ideas.

To plant vegetables with children can be a great way to introduce young children to where food comes from and also encourages children to eat  fruits and vegetables which lead to a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gardening helps to develop children’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and also promotes their gross motor skills by activities like digging, raking, shoveling, watering and pushing a wheelbarrow etc.

When gardening children experience things firsthand and participate in an  active learning. Hands-on activities are important for children’s learning and children learn best by doing, not by watching.

A garden is like a science lab, with a myriad of topics and scientific concepts to discover. What does the plant need to grow? Why do the plants need sun? How does the plants “drink”water? Do the plants need food? Does the plants breathe?  The life cycle of plants, soil composition, photosynthesis and more!

Photosynthesis an interaction between man and nature!

All that is living needs energy. Energy is food. Plants need food and they make their own food in their leaves by a chemical process called the Photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis

Chef Chlorophyll

For small children we can explain the Photosynthesis by telling a little story about the Chef Chlorophyll. Every leaf has small kitchen and in the kitchen works Chef Chlorophyll and he cooks food for the plants. The dish he cocks is sugar (glucose). He mixes water, water he gets from the roots with air (carbon dioxide) that he has stored in his kitchen and cocks it on his stove (the sun). The smoke from the cooking goes out from the leaf, towards a chimney (stomata) into the air. The smoke from the chimney (oxygen) is the air people and animals breathe. When the autumn comes chef Chef Chlorophyll close down his kitchen and move down to the roots with all other chefs. The chefs are resting and waiting in the roots for the spring to come. The leaf kitchens are closed during the winter, but when spring comes the chefs will reopen them again.

To start a veggie and flower gardening project with children.

To visit the local vegetable and flower market is a good way to start the project. Stroll around among the market stands and ask the children if they know the names of some of the flowers and vegetables they see in the marketplace, which vegetables they have eaten etc.

To empower the children, involve them in the planning of the garden and let them have a say about which plants and vegetables to chose.

If you do not have enough space for a garden, you can grow flowers and vegetables in containers.

Almost any vegetable that can be grown in a garden will work well as a container-grown plant.

Vegetables

Herbs

Flowers

You can mix new and recycled containers to plant in.

Some plants are toxic for children so they should be avoided in a child-friendly garden, make sure that plants and seeds used with children not are poisonous or coated with a pesticide.

Try to find real garden tools that are in a child friendly size.

By planting, nursing,  harvesting and eating the vegetables they have grown,  children learn about where food comes from and develop healthy eating habits.

Planting, growing and caring for plants teaches children everything from basic skills to bigger concepts of life.

Download Playtime Seychelles storybook as PDF     

Let’s plant!   

Download some funny experiments to do with children!

plant in a CD case                  

How plants absorbs water  

How plants transport water from the root1    

garden markers  

Weave a nature loom   

Earth in a jar!                

Knowledge about nature starts in nature!

When we think about education, learning and knowledge we often think about an actual classroom with four walls but there are many other learning environments that have no walls and that offers endless opportunities for children to learn. The nature with its fantastic library of knowledge is a developmentally appropriate classroom for children to learn about nature.

Children need a broad variety of learning experiences and opportunities to grow in areas such as gross and fine motor development, social-emotional development, language development, and creative expression and nature offers all this opportunities. Nature also promotes problem-solving skills scientific and mathematical exploration, language and pre-literacy skills.

In nature children can discover how nature works, learn the correct names for animals and plants and learn to question and investigate.The best way for small children to learn is when they can see objects touch them, taste them, hear them and smell them.Let children be active learners, children benefit from active hands-on discovery learning opportunities.

Experiences in nature are more important than facts and book learning about nature to create childhood connections with the natural world.”  David Sobel

To give children environmental education for sustainability is more important than ever before and it needs to start at any early age with hands-on experience in nature. Place-based outdoor learning promotes a relationship with the natural environment and provides an environmental knowledge and ecological understanding of the world. The future needs ecological literate adults who are able to recognize common plants and animals and interpret what they see in nature.

Respect, protect, and preserve the natural world

Children must be educated not to leave rubbish behind and throwing things away in the environment. We as adults must help children to understand the damage litter can do to wildlife and the environment.

Respect for all living

Everything goes around in nature.

Nature has its own clean-up crew. You can introduce the children to nature’s recyclers and encourage them to be like nature and recycle, too! The life cycle of a tree provides children with a good example of recycling in nature. Leaves that fall down from the tree, make a leaf litter on the forest ground. Leaf litters are habitat for a big variety of nature’s recyclers.

Nature’s recyclers are decomposers; they decompose or break down organic litter into nutrient components that will return to the soil.  Nature’s recyclers come in many forms snails, slugs beetles, sow bugs, earthworms, millipedes, fungi, mushrooms, lichens and microbes. Observe together with the children nature’s recyclers in their natural setting during the warmer months of the year. Don’t disturb their homes any more than is absolutely necessary.

How do you grow an environmentalist?

If we want children to care about, preserve and love the natural world, shall we teach them about the destruction of the rainforest, global warming and about endangered species dying off?No says Louise Chawla Researcher and Professor in Environmental Design of course it is important for adults and even teenagers to become aware of such problems and issues but many environmental problems are just too abstract and complex for young children who still believe in the Tooth Fairy.”

Step 1: Back off the bad news.

Step 2: Let children explore nature. Let children have fun outdoors. Lie in the grass, look under a rock, plant a seed, wade in a creek, get a birdfeeder, go fishing, climb trees, watch butterflies.

Step. 3: Teach them to practice environmental ‘good manners” as a daily habit without telling them that if they don’t “the ozone hole will quadruple.” If children ask why, “say something like: We want to be smart about how we use the earth’s resources.    Louise Chawla

We teach about climate change, global warming, extinction of spices and ways to “save the planet” without thinking  about the effects these lessons can have on children. David Sobol calls the fear that this kind of teaching breeds “ecophobia”.

Ecophobic” (i.e., fearful of environmental problems)

David Sobel states that it is only when children get to age 12 that they are really ready for social action, for “changing the world”.

David Sobel is an education writer who has helped in developing the philosophy of place-based education. He has written extensively on the topic in books and numerous articles.

He has published five books including Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities and Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education

 

 Click on the link and read his article in Yes Magazine “Beyond Ecophobia”

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-for-life/803

 

 

Click on the link and read chapter Chapter 11 “Young children, environmental education and the future” by Julie Davis  

Young children, environmental education and the future by Julie Davis 

Click on the link and download two plays that you can do in nature with children Kim’s Play and Scavenger hunt      

kim’s play and scavanger hunt 2

                    Get Outside — and Learn Something New!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restore the nature and outdoor play.

Children that have many opportunities to play and discover nature will get knowledge about all that are living and growing, they will understand our living conditions better. Nowhere is so much to discover, to play with, as in nature and nowhere can children get so much knowledge about their own living conditions, as they can in small piece of wild nature. Experiences in nature give a feeling of responsibility to nature and animals, all that is living. No environment is so full of play material, as the nature. Nature gives children a maximum of space to run, jump climb, role, spin to a minimum of prohibitions and restrictions. In nature children’s big needs of movement, knowledge, interaction and thrill are fulfilled.

Throughout history nature play has happened automatically during childhood, but today that kind of play that has been a cherished part of childhood for so many generations is endangered.

Many more people live in cities and suburbs today where access to wild spaces appropriate for children’s play often is very limited.

More and more children today have less and less contact with the natural world and it is has a huge impact on their health and development.

Does the loss of childhood nature play really matter?                    Yes!

During the early childhood years children need opportunities to get out and explore nature without predetermined activities or objectives.

Researches show that natural environments and outdoor play are beneficial to children in many ways. Playing outdoors is important for developing capacities for creativity, symbolic play, problem solving and intellectual development.

The importance of physical activities from early age is particularly relevant if we consider the growth of children’s obesity worldwide but also prevent heart disease, diabetes and other health issues later in life.

Time spent outdoors increase physical activity, healthy development and overall wellbeing.

The world’s environmental problems are increasing and it is important to raise citizens who have positive views of nature and will take action to protect it.

Frequent, unstructured childhood play in natural settings has shown to be the best influence to develop of life-long conservation values. Childhood play in nature lays the foundation for an interest in taking care of the environment later in life.

If we want future generations to carry on the work of conservation, nature and outdoor play must be restored.

Nature is the ultimate resource for eco-friendly craft and art materials for children.

Nature is filled with some of the best “toys” that can be offered. Natural materials with open-ended possibilities stimulate and empower children’s creativity, imagination and fantasy and they can be used in play in many ways. Nature based loose parts can range from simple natural materials, such as pieces of bark, small stones, seeds, pine cones, twigs, fallen leaves, flowers, branches, pebbles and the list goes on and on.

The theory of loose parts

The theory of “loose parts” first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson in the 1970’s has begun to influence child-play experts and the people who design play spaces for children in a big way. Nicholson believed that it is the ‘loose parts’ in our environment that will empower our creativity. In a play, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

Richard Louv  

In his book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—disorder to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Nature-Deficit- Disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature.

Julia M Davies, professor in early childhood education Queensland University of Technology has written the book “Young Children and the Environment” second edition. The book is a practical resource that illustrates the difference that early childhood educators can make by working with children their families and the wider community to tackle the contemporary issue of sustainable living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playtime promotes safety for small children

Playtime Seychelles promotes and advocates safety and safe environments for small children in Seychelles.

Worldwide, nearly 1 million children die from injuries every year. Tens of millions more require hospital care for non-fatal injuries. More children die of injuries than die of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined. Injuries affect children of all ages but small children under five years are at a particular risk. The most common injuries are traffic injuries, burns and falls, poisoning drowning and suffocation. 

Children explore their surroundings with great curiosity unaware of all the risks that exist around them. For this reason we as adults need to keep a step ahead to prevent accidents. Small children will always hurt themselves, it is a part of growing up, but as adults we can prevent and minimize the accidents, especially the dangerous ones with catastrophic aftermaths.

Many of the injuries can be prevented by be aware of them constant supervision and safety equipment for the home, safety car safety seats, pedestrian reflectors, bike helmets and safe toys.

Convention of the Rights of the Child art. 24 state, that children have the right to safe environments.

Playtime Seychelles have a project called “Safe Children Happy Parents”!

We have published 6 different publications about safety for children that we have donated to Seychelles National Library and they are free to download at our website. You can read two of them online here.

We write and publish safety articles in the daily newspaper Nation to spread information about safety for children among the public.

Playtime Seychelles has written and published a storybook “Sa pti baba kirye.” (The curious baby) that we have donated to the National Library Children’s Department. You can read the book online here.

Parents can watch our video clip about safety equipment for the home on our website or on YouTube.

Playtime Seychelles has promoted the use of a small part cylinder in Seychelles. Parents can use the cylinder to check out all small things that could be dangerous for a child under 3 years to put in the mouth and  could cause suffocation. The use of a can cylinder prevent suffocation from small parts like coins, peanuts or detachable parts of toys like eyes, small wheels, filling from stuffed animals etc.

We have donated 100 Small Part Cylinders to Seychelles Hospital Maternity Ward to give to new become mothers and by emailing or call us parents in Seychelles can get a cylinder for free from Playtime Seychelles.

Free downloads

Click on the link safe children happy parents

Click on the link safe to play wit

Welcome to visit Playtime Seychelles website and Safety Corner http://ipa-playtime-seychelles.org/

 

 

 

Article 31 and the Importance of Play.

Play is an essential part of every child’s life and throughout most of the history; kids have spent hour after hour playing. I read somewhere that a child have played 15000 hours during the first 6 years of his life.

Play is instinctive and not just for human children – all young mammals play. This shows how important it is to development.

Play ensures the maximum potential development of every child and play stimulates creativity, fantasy and is important to the emotional, cognitive, physical development of the whole child and is crucial for the development of the brain structure.

Through play children can explore their world, practice adult roles and play also improves children’s social skills by helping them to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts.

In play children learn the skills that are essential to lifeskills that cannot be taught in a more formal, structured environments.

In every way, play is a practice for life.

Play is so important to optimal development of a child that it has an article (31) of its own in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 31

  1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
  2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

 

General Comment on Article 31

The UN General Comment on article 31(General Comment 17) was adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Friday 1st February 2013.

The purpose of a general comment is to widen and deepen understanding of a particular aspect of the Convention and to reflect the changing conditions under which children grow up. The General Comment is an official document that clarifies for the governments worldwide the meaning and importance of article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and clearly defines the responsibilities of governments that have signed the Convention . The General Comment will provide guidance to the States Parties and raise awareness of the importance of play in the everyday lives of children worldwide.

This general comment puts the spotlight on article 31 and provides ammunition to revisit and advocate for the child’s right to play.

The General comment was produced to address the concerns the Committee had over the poor recognition given by States to art.31 based on the reviews of the implementation of the UNCRC. International Play Association IPA took a lead role in the development of the General Comment.

Click on the link and read the whole General Comment http://ipaworld.org/childs-right-to-play/article-31/general-comment-17/

IPA is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 in Copenhagen and its purpose is to protect, preserve and promote children’s right to play as a fundamental human right, according to the Article 31 of the UNCRC

IPA has national organizations in many countries both in Europe and outside of Europe. IPA member groups initiate a wide variety of projects that promote the child’s right to play like seminars, conferences, research, publications and Play Days.

Click on the link to visit IPA website http://ipaworld.org/

Play is a fundamental right and a very important part of a children’s life.

Play is the work of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child part 2

Playtime Seychelles promotes UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We have published two story books for children about the UNCRC in creole. The books have been donated to Seychelles National Library and they can also be read on our website and downloaded for free.

One book for small children ”Sa pti lapen” (The little rabbit). This little story can be affiliated to UNCRC and can be used as a discussion with the children about their rights.

With the book come a set of pictures. The pictures are affiliated to the book and can be used both by adults and children to tell the story. Small children need to repeat for their understanding and they love to do it. It can also be a good material for discussion in smaller groups.

One book for elderly children “Nou annan en keksoz pou dir!”     (We have something to say!) and it is affiliated to articles 2, 6 and12.

Playtime Seychelles has also created a box with introduction material for small children about the UNCRC that we called “Play and learn your rights.” The content of the box is an introduction to the UNCRC for small children to learn about their rights in a play full way.

A poster for the classroom wall in easy read Creole

A teacher guidance how to work with the rabbit story, the mobile and discussion question for both small and eldery children.

The mobile material is for the small children to work with in small groups together with an adult. The material opens up for discussion about their choices and rights. Tip: make an exhibition out of the mobiles and invite parents, relatives and siblings. Let the children guide the exhibition.

 

 

The Un Convention of the Rights of the Child for adults.

About the Box

Free Downloads

Click to download PDF

Click to download PDF We have something to say!

 

Click to download PDF The little rabbit

 

 

 

 

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child often abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC is a human rights treaty dedicated to children and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989.

But the idea that children should have rights goes much further back than 1989. Already in the beginning of 20th century some activist started to promote the idea that children should have rights.

In the aftermath of 1 World War, Eglantyne Jebb the founder of Save the Children wrote the draft of the declaration on the Rights of the Child and together with others she campaigned for the first International declaration on the Rights of the Child adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, the United Nation adopted an expanded version of the declaration 1959. During the International Year of the child 1979 Poland proposed that it should be a convention for children.

During the next 10 years countries around the world debated and negotiated the text to what should become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world.

UNCRC is an international Human Rights agreement based on the three core principles of human rights Dignity, Equality and Respect. UNCRC sets a global rights agenda for every person under the age 18 years old.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally-binding international agreement, setting out the civil political economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.

Nations that ratifies UNCRC are bound to it by international law; ratifying states must act in the best interest of the child.

The UNCRC describes the obligation state parties have to all children living within its border. The convention is wide reaching and covers many aspects of children’s lives.

States have the responsibility to create the legislation and policy framework, and provide resources, so that UNCRC can be realized.

Rights are described as articles and there are 54 articles in the Convention. There are 4 articles that apply across all other rights in the Convention.

The other rights can be categorized into 5 categories

Children under 18 years of age are Rights holders.

Duty bearers are those defined as having obligations under the CRC for respect, protection and fulfillment of children’s rights. Government and everybody that works or act on the behalf of the Government such as teachers, police , social workers, judges health care workers etc. are the duty bearers and are responsible for realizing the rights of all children.

That means that duty bearers must consider and apply the provision of the convention in all aspects of their work that defect children, respect, protect and fulfill all the obligations that they have signed up for. For example if there is a culture of bullying on a school the school have to take appropriate action so all children can feel safe and learn.

The monitoring body of the UNCRC is the Committee on the Rights of the Child and  was established by the UNCRC. The Committee is an independent body of 18 experts elected by the State Parties. State Parties must submit a progress report every five year and their assessments are supplemented with information from other organizations like NGOs and children’s Commissioner and children can also submit evidence to the committee.

The Committee enters into “constructive dialogue” with states, and the output from the whole process is a report called the Concluding Observations and it summaries the Committees view on the status of UNCRC in the country. The report also contains recommended measures  to be taken by the state and also includes implementation and improvement recommendation to each individual country, which will be reviewed next time the state is examined.

The Committee has no way of enforcing its views, but the open reporting process makes states publicly and internationally accountable.

Two optional protocols were adopted on 25 May 2000.

The first Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in military conflicts, and the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Both protocols have been ratified by more than 160 states.

A third Optional Protocol relating to communication of complaints was adopted in December 2011 and opened for signature on 28 February 2012. It came into effect on 14 April 2014.

There has always been a long standing focus on protecting vulnerable children from suffering as a charitable response, with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child children no longer have to rely on charity or kindness to meet their needs. Full implementation of UNCRC insures children the entitlement to that Equality, Dignity and Respect is upheld.

To be continued.