Lecture considers how do we best care for children
Friday 4 December 2009
Lesley Riddoch, one of Scotland’s best known commentators and broadcasters, delivered the CHILDREN 1ST 125th anniversary lecture in Dundee on 3 December.
Lesley was challenging and thought provoking asking the audience if our cotton wool approach to children is actually doing them more harm than good.
A film clip from a Kindergarten in Norway demonstrated that point as young children spent up to six hours a day out in the snow, climbing trees, throwing snowballs and generally having a great time. The staff at the Kindergarten were amused by some of Lesley’s questions, for example: “Do any of the parents say they don’t want their children out in the cold”. The answer: “No, the parents know it is good for the children - it is how they learn.”
Lesley went on to show how children in this country are doing in comparison to other countries and it was a bleak picture with the UK alongside Hungary and Romania. Cyprus and Sweden are two countries where children achieve highly in all the positive indicators. Cyprus a more traditional country where children benefit from the care of the extended family and Sweden which provides universal high quality child care and children start school at six and seven years old.
Lesley concluded by saying that we need a radical shift in thinking and a huge investment for services to the under threes as that is where the essential life skills are developed. But we also need to rethink our whole approach and give children back the childhood that many of us had, which involved a lot more “guddling about”.
Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST, said after the lecture: “Discussion and debate is important to increase our understanding of what works best for children. Over 100 people attended the lecture and they will have gone away with new a perspective. We would encourage them to take these ideas into their workplace to their councillors and MSPs. The care and well being of children is the most important duty for any society. We must learn lessons from other countries to ensure that we have the right support and services so every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Last updated: Wednesday 9 December 2009