In this essay I am going to explain the term ” equal opportunities” in relation to early years practice. Explore this in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and explain the impact the Convention on UK legislation. I am also going to suggest some steps which in my consideration can implement equality of opportunity for children in UK.
Equal opportunity is a descriptive term for an approach intended to give equal access to a certain social environment or to ensure people are not specifically excluded from participating in activities such as education, employment or health care on the basis of immutable traits. The lack of access might cause poor self-esteem, respect, misunderstandings, stereotyping and discrimination. Bruce and Meggit, 2002) Also it means opening up the universe for the child and family so that they can take full benefit of the early childhood activities in school and in society. Equal opportunity does not mean treating everyone the same. The Common areas of discrimination are race, financial capability, gender and the ability of the child. Every child's future depends on opportunities provided to it in his early years of life which usually defines the child's outlook towards life.
This will be the window through which the child will define race, gender, nationality, religion, family set-up, special needs and sexual orientation of parents in his or her own way. The teacher and parents will play the most vital role in the child's early years of development and they will be providing all the vital elements of this process to build the child's future. Teachers and parents have to make sure that he is in the right environment for this development to take place.
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To help them, the UN has played a major role and contributed immensely to this process. The UN general assembly agreed to adopt the conventions on the rights of the child on November 20th, 1989. It came into force in September 1990 after it was ratified by 192 member nations. The convention is child centric and deals with child specific needs and right to education and care. It also looks after the best interest of the child. Articles 2,3,6,7,8,11,12,13,23,28,29,30,31,32,34,35 are related specifically to the early years in respect to education and care.
These articles of the policy state that the member nations will respect the rights set forth in the present convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind. (Convention on the rights of the child, 1990) The Convention on the Rights of the Child applies in the UK since ratification in December 1991, when the government agreed to make all laws, policy and practice compatible with the UN Convention. (http://www. unicef. org) Every child has certain basic rights, including the right to life, his/her own name and identity, and to be raised by his/her parents within a family or cultural grouping and have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated. " (www. wikipedia. org) The principals outlined in the international human rights framework apply to both children and adults. I am doing to concentrate on children which are mentioned especially in many of the human rights. Standards are specially modified or adapted where the need and concerns surrounding are distinct for children. http://www. child-abuse. com) The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes and promotes this great link between children’s rights and responsibilities. The aims of education defined in the Article 29, include nurturing children’s respect for human rights, for their own and others cultural values and for the environment. This Article teaches us how vital it is for every child from birth to be thought tolerance and approval for people of other cultural and be able to get access to the same level and standard of education.
Children need to be involved in process of learning about other cultures in order to understand them better. In this way children become familiarly with all the information, accept them and learn that everybody has equal rights and deserve approval and respect from Other people, no matter how old they are. (UN Convention, Article 29) Other articles express children’s rights in terms that stress how children’s exercise of those rights must be responsible and respectful of the rights of others.
Article 15, states that children have the rights to meet with others and to join or set up association, unless the fact of their doing so would violate the rights of others. . Every child should be allowed to join those groups, in this way children learn about each other and build up their level of tolerance. Through social life children and young people meet and observe other children and learn from each other. (UN Convention, Article 15) Another example of children rights is Article 31 which again promotes the rights to rest and leisure, play and recreational activities appropriate for the age of the child.
Children need to have the time to re-charge they energy, rest and play with each other or, and on their own. In many situations we learn about children who have to work long hours and very often do not get enough sleep at night. This is when we could mention children being explored, hard working children who have no time for cultural, artistic or leisure activities. (UN Convention, Article 31) In upholding the rights of children, the Convention does not infringe on the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children.
Instead, it specifically states that governments shall make every effort to keep families intact and shall provide support and assistance to parents in fulfilling their responsibilities with regard to the upbringing and development of their children. The promotion of children's rights is not a matter of placing children in conflict with the adult authorities in their lives, but of encouraging all citizens to work together for a safe, healthy and productive future for children. (http://www. unicef. org)
Parents, carers, families and teachers are the most important influence on outcomes for children and young people. The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme aims to ensure that support for parents becomes routine, particularly at key points in a child or young person’s life. (http://www. crin. ch) The UK government aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, achieve economic well-being.
The UK government aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, achieve economic well-being. This means that the organizations involved with providing services to children-from hospitals and schools, to police and voluntary groups- will be teaming up in new ways, sharing information and working together, to protect children and young people from harm and help them achieve what they want in life.
Children and young people will have far more say about issues that affect them as individuals and collectively. (http://www. cre. gov. uk) The Children’s Commissioner for England was appointed, to give children and young people a voice in government and in public life. The Commissioner will pay particular attention to gathering and putting forward the views of the most vulnerable children and young people in society, and will promote their involvement in the work of organizations whose decisions and actions affect them.
The Commissioner’s role is to observe every aspect about young children and react immediately if something is acting against they rules and believes. (http://www. cre. org. uk) By agreeing to undertake the obligation of the convention, UK’s government have committed themselves to project and ensure children’s rights as they agreed to hold themselves accountable for the commitment before the international community. State parties to the convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and polices in the best interest of the child.
The task, however, must engage not just governments but all members of society. The standards and principles articulated in the convention can only become a reality when they are respected by everyone within the families, in school and other institution that provide service for children, in communities and at all levels of administrations. (MCI protocol) The DfES (Department for Education and Slikks) works in partnership with community foundations, rural community councils, councils for voluntary service and grant making trusts to provide an experienced fund administrator in each area.
Administrators ensure that outreach and support are available to support applicants. Decisions on allocating funding are made by assessment panels comprised of people with knowledge of the issues faced by children in the communities served by the funds. (http://dfes. gov. uk) New child charities have been recognised all over country helping to promote and claim children’s rights, and monitor how far their are being realised and respected.
The charities collaborate with government and civil society to make progress in realising children’s rights. The UN committee welcomed a number of UK initiatives, especially new legislation such as the Human Rights Act and Adoption and Children Bill, youth participation, the available strategy for children, young people, and strategies on child poverty and teenage pregnancy. ( http://www. publication. parliament. uk).
All parts of government have a responsibility to learn about, promote and implement the convention. The children, young people and families directorate within the department for education and skills co-ordinates the government’s report to the committee on the rights of the child. Beverley Hughes MP, the minister for children, young people and families, has special responsibility within the government for ensuring the convention is put into practice.
The government is also meant to make sure that all new laws fit with the convention. Children’s rights groups and organisations have an important role to play in raising awareness about the convention, and referring to it whenever decisions are made that affects children and young people. By agreeing to undertake the obligation of the convention, UK overnment has committed themselves to protect and ensure children’s rights as they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for the commitment before the international community. States parties to the convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and polices in the best interests of the child. The task, however, must engage not just governments but all members of society.
The standards and principles articulated in the convention can only become a reality when they are respected by everyone within the families, in schools and other institutions that provide services for children, in communities and at all levels of administration (Kandola and Fullerton,1998) Types of support offered could include structured parenting education groups, couple support, home visiting and employment or training advice.
All schools actively seek to engage parents in children and young people's education, helping parents to understand what they can do at home to work with the schoolchildren’s centres and extended schools develop a coherent set of services both to support parents and to involve them properly at all stages of a child's learning and development. (http://www. crin. ch) In conclusion, we should all apply the equal opportunities policy and each on of us should begin by him/herself.
We should treat anyone an adult or a child equally regardless of his gender, race, nationality, social class and religion because he/she is an important part of the society we live in, and has a major role in it, especially children because they are the future generation, who will take our place in the society. Furthermore, we the adults should be the role model of our children because they are our mirror that reflect us wherever they go and whatever they do.
Bibliography Bruce, . T and Meggitt, C. (2002) Child Care and Education, Hodder and Stoughton, London www. unicef. org UNICEF (Undated) Convention on Rights of the Child, 1990, http://www. ohchr. org/english/law/pdf/crc. pdf http://www. crin. ch Kandola, R. and Fullerton, J. (1998), The equal opportunity handbook http://www. child-abuse. com http://www. publication. parliament. uk http://www. wikipedia. org
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