Involving and Consulting Children Policy
The Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) is committed to the principle of involving and consulting children whenever decisions are made within CUHP that affect them.
CUHP's commitment to involving and consulting children stems from the ‘listening to children' provisions set out in Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. These state that:
A child's opinion should be taken into account in anything that affects them. Children should have information disseminated in a way that enables them to make choices and decisions.
Participation is a right
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that any child or young person has a right to express their views and have them given due weight in decisions affecting them, in accordance with their age and maturity. Participation is not a privilege and it does not have to be earned; rather, it values children and young people as citizens in their own right. For children, involvement and consultation helps them to develop new skills such as negotiating, sharing and understanding the perspectives of others. It helps them to understand how decisions are made, and recognises that their opinions are important.
There are multiple benefits of such an approach including a relationship with children based on partnership, a more cohesive environment and activities and decisions that children feel a sense of ownership over, that leads to an improved overall higher standard of behaviour. All children that attend CUHP will be listened to and consulted actively. This will take a number of forms, including:
- Listening to what they say in speech and other forms of communication.
- Observing body language and behaviour.
- Drama and role-play.
- Through play and creative expression and the use of visual aids.
- Via regular group based discussions and Q&A sessions.
- Questionnaires and other regular feedback on activities.
- Notice boards that display important information about activities at CUHP.
- Regular children's meetings, between children and staff, discussing CUHP's activities and any other relevant topics.
Age, maturity and the type of decision being made will determine the extent and nature of children's involvement. However, the emphasis should always be strongly in favour of involving children. CUHP ensures that children have the opportunity to make decisions and/or participate in the following areas:
- Choosing the type of snacks available.
- Choosing how, when and where they have their snack.
- Being involved with the preparation of snack.
- Involved with choosing new toys/ equipment/resources.
- Choosing to play inside/outside when they want to.
- Contribute to the planning of trips and excursions.
- Involved with developing boundaries.
- Contribution to newsletters.
- Assisting with designing publicity posters.
- Assisting with the evaluation of fire drills.
Consultation and involvement will be regularly monitored and acted upon so that children are able to see that their input has led to visible outcomes. CUHP will also be clear about what decisions children will be involved in an attempt to offer clear explanations if and when consultation and involvement is deemed inappropriate.
Policy reviewed on 14 December 2011.