What do Australian children need and what can the public and the government do to help protect them and make the future more secure?
Children are naturally vulnerable and most people wish to ensure they are protected and grow up to reach their full potential regardless of their background and circumstances. There are many individual issues that affect the quality of childhood. These include their health & mental health, the provision of sufficient opportunities and the quality of their education to name just a few.
In addition, there is one overarching issue that affects all of us, a common denominator that has not found its way into policy and practice yet: the safety of our planet. Sustainable management of our resources is being discussed this week at the Rio + 20 summit and this is extremely timely.
We have known about the negative environmental impact of large scale economic activity for at least four decades. The assumptions upon which we have based social service delivery to protect children have changed and continue to change. Nothing is simple anymore but children need to inherit a clean and safe environment as the minimum foundation to prosper. So what do we have to do to attain a sustainable lifestyle for them? How will the effect of climate change influence the delivery of social services to children? What does climate change mean for the policy and practice of protecting children?
It does not mean business as usual because the answers to these questions will determine the quality of their lives in every respect. Social, environmental and economic wellbeing are interrelated and interdependent – therefore
social investments are good for the planet.
In order to achieve rapid change we need an education system focused on fostering the skills, confidence & responsibility to develop ‘the future we want’ and need.
Instead of trying to deliver new results with old methods we should radically revise the way children learn and contribute to society. There is generally a huge gulf between what the system provides and the knowledge and skills children need. Innovative, independent initiatives – often under-resourced and privately funded – are stepping in to fill this void. One small example is Memrise
who are in their own words:” …obsessed with using brain science to help you learn faster”.
An education focused on positive change is key to addressing the complexities of an increasingly small and depleted world.
Bring it on!
PS I was asked to write this blog for Open Forum due to my involvement with a wonderful initiative called Children’s Promise. Please let me know your views and if you know about any revolutionary approaches to education that focus on reality rather than produce more of the same. Click on the link if you wish to find out more about Children’s Promise!