Here’s My Call to Advocacy For Children
As a parent and an RECE who supervises a childcare center I have come to realize that parents and educators need for advocacy for young children.
Children Need a Voice, More Advocacy Please
These young children need a voice and typically parents advocate for their children, but do educators?
How can educators advocate for children in their classrooms?
I have had the pleasure of working with children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD, ADHD combined type and other children who just challenge me as an educator.
These children are the ones that I still remember their names to this day and I wonder where they are in life now.
I have recently been faced with a situation where a child needed someone to advocate for him. It was a tough situation and in the beginning, I was shut down, not heard.
It was very frustrating for me as I knew from my background and years of experience that I was right.
I even had documents to support my arguments.
I was still not heard and it was heartbreaking
Yet, I was still not heard, the teacher of the child was heard first.
This was heartbreaking; I recognize that there are 2 sides to every story and that there was some truth to the teacher’s side.
I even told the teacher that she had some valid points to show that I see both sides of this situation.
However, at the end of the day I was there to support a 3-year-old child and to make sure his voice was heard.
What is the best way to advocate for a child who may be misunderstood, strong willed or the one who just sticks out?
I believe that you must observe the child over a period of time to get to know them, what they like and dislike in their environment.
It will also allow you to see how the child engages with peers and teachers.
Once this has finished you should be able to pick up on numerous queues that will allow you to help support the child or children that may be struggling in your child care center, home child care center or your own child.
When children see you engage with them, support them through a tantrum, or quarrel with another child – you are supporting them.
My Call To Educators
As educators, you should also ensure you and your room partner (s) are on the same page. Speak with your director, the school principal or the person in charge.
They are there to support you and will listen to your concerns and will guide you on how to support the child (ren) in your program.
There will be times that your voice may not be heard when you are trying to stand up for a child, don’t give up.
You must keep trying, and make sure that you know who to talk to and have all your facts documented. During countless meetings, I have had with schools for my children or met with parents who attend my childcare center, I always document the meetings.
This way we can go back to see what we did or did not do, what worked and what we can do in the future.
More Research Please!
I also believe that research will also be a great help when working with children who challenge you. At the end of the day, advocate for your children, children in your class or in your life, they are worth every hardship.
Amy, having earned a Bachelors Degree in Child Development, has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 10 years. First working in an infant classroom, and then moving to JK, preschool and toddlers. Currently Amy works as a Supervisor of a childcare facility in York Region.