Why young voices matter
Even the most humble egos can be dented by imagining that a child can have the answers to the complex challenge that 'the return to school' presents.
In a competition to have 'the answer' or to 'cash in' on the solution, there is every chance that we will overlook the complexities of the process that are involved with understanding the problems that have been caused by covid19 and a life in lockdown.
Regardless of our experiences or expertise, we are unable to guess how children have understood, responded and adapted to the changes and challenges that covid19 have created. In searching for a solution, many of us have failed to truly understand the nature of the problems we are looking to solve.
We must start from a position in which we believe every emotion is valid and every opinion, important. We must maintain the view that behaviours communicate needs especially when children and young people are unable to vocalise their difficult thoughts and feelings. We must recognise that understanding individual preferences is the solid foundation for the design of our return to school programme.
At Phoenix Education Consultancy, created a survey titled, 'Thinking about School' which we first shared with our network on Sunday 10th May. When we closed the survey just five days later, 2063 children had taken the time to tell us what Covid-19 has meant for them.
It would be easy to over look these responses and perhaps dismiss some of answers. It may be intuitive to assume that most kids will want to stay at home because it's 'easier' than being at school and there is the cynical side in all of us that says, of course, children will be enjoying the one-to-one attention and unlimited time lockdown has facilitated within their family.
Yet, in these results and answers are the details that we need to address, Only children can tell us what an effective plan looks like. Only children are able to identify what this has meant to them, how it has impacted them and explain the various pain points the right return will need to address.
The survey results are free to download here and will be shared, in more detail, during our free webinars which can also be booked on the website. We will also be recording these to make sure they are accessible for a range of professional, parents, policy makers and children themselves.