Supporting early childhood professionals worldwide in
their efforts to craft thriving environments for children and adults.
Submitted by Ellen Hall
The big idea that led to the initiation of the World Forum Foundation Working Group on Children's Rights came from Pam Boulton in a statement written to the World Forum community following the World Forum in Belfast in June 2009. In this statement, Pam wrote, "I believe that ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important part of being a global citizen. It is time to ask — intentionally and insistently — that our legislators ratify this convention and that we take our place among those who agree to promote and protect children's best interests." This idea caught my attention as an educator in a school that has been engaged in research surrounding the rights of children for nearly a decade, and, encouraged by Bonnie Neugebauer, Pam and I reached out to one another. The idea that we could learn about ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) from our World Forum colleagues, whose countries have already ratified this important document, was the stimulus for the organization and facilitation of a series of panel discussions during the 2011 World Forum in Hawaii. The explosion of ideas that this opportunity created led to numerous ideas including the idea that ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is only a beginning. There is a great deal of work surrounding interpretation and implementation that we can do in collaboration with one another, as global citizens who are committed to honoring the rights of all children to provision, protection, and participation as citizens of the present and of the future.
Nature Action Collaborative for Children
Submitted by Toni Christie and Caroline Hudicourt
The idea behind the work of the NACC is that all children have a right to experience the beauty and wonder of nature every day of their lives so they can reflect on and value themselves and their place in the environment; and that we adults have to take the actions necessary to support them in doing so. Two big ideas of the group were the creation of Wonder newsletter in each issue of the Exchange magazine and the Environmental Action Kit found on the World Forum Foundation website. Both of these are ways to share resources and ideas worldwide on successful strategies for connecting children with nature.
Submitted by Larry Schweinhart
From its beginning, the World Forum on Early Care and Education has been committed to addressing early childhood curriculum. This commitment previously resulted in presentations of several widely used curriculum models or approaches. In 2011 we took a working group approach instead. We recruited early childhood curriculum developers and their representatives to participate. Throughout the year we developed a small set of clearly stated principles that all participants agreed on. At the World Forum in Honolulu, we finalized the list and wording at working group meetings and presented the statement to a larger group of Forum participants for more feedback.
Our principles assert that a set of early childhood curriculum principles apply, with adaptation, in all countries. We defineearly childhood as the period of human life from birth up to 5 or 6 years of age and even 8 or 9. We say that young children should have choices that influence their curriculum, appropriate to their stage of development; that professional development experiences should be organized around a comprehensive curriculum and assessment system that has evidence of its effectiveness and is culturally sensitive; and that caregiving for infants and toddlers should meet their common needs as expressed in their own cultures. We define early childhood assessment as documented observation of children's development, especially during play, and as evaluation of curriculum and program quality. We acknowledge early childhood educators' responsibility to find ways to empower children, educators, and parents to work together as partners in education.
International Working Group on Peace Building with Young Children
Submitted by Kishor Shrestha
International Working Group on Peace Building with Young Children (IWGPB) has been formed with a noble interest to make visible the role of early childhood development as a force for reconciliation and peace building in the regions experiencing or emerging from armed conflict. However, its activities are not limited to the regions experiencing armed conflict. We firmly believe that "as war begins in the minds of the people, the peace must be cultivated in the minds of the people." In this regard, IWGPB aims to advocate for the development of supportive policy on early childhood and peace building at the national, regional, and international levels. Its activities include partnership building for addressing the needs of young children and families living in conflict-affected societies. Moreover, it focuses on the capacity building of the professionals at all levels — from local to national, regional, and global. It provides a platform for sharing ideas, opinions, and experiences among its members, and strives to inculcate hope, encouragement, and positive attitudes on children and families living in violent and disruptive environments across the globe.
Global Collaborative OnDesign for Children
Submitted by Paul Roberts
The Global Collaborative OnDesign for Children is the newest Working Group of the World Forum Foundation. Our mission is to connect people who care about the quality of spaces designed for children. We aim to become a clearing-house for research, case studies, and dialogue concerned with all aspects of creating and renovating spaces for children to become places of learning, discovery, and joy. Through development of our website and holding training sessions and working forums around the globe, we will create an increased awareness of both how to create great spaces and the research of the benefits of doing so.
In 2012, just a year after forming, we are very excited to be holding our first International Working Forum OnDesign for Children at the Clark Kerr Campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The location in the beautiful and exciting San Francisco Bay Area promises to be a dynamic and interchange of dialogue with leading experts from around the world.
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