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Are we, as parents, teachers and educators, really providing the best education to our children? Is what we teach enlightening and is it releasing them from ignorance, or is it chaining down their creativity, their individuality, their essence?
Although the concept of childhood as a pillar of social construction has been around since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, its current social relevance is due to the fact that new times introduce new circumstances and conditions of life for children and for their social inclusion. This evolution implies the concept of childhood needs to be re-evaluated, along with the status of the student.
Thus, both the family and / or social group to which the child belongs, as well as teachers / educators who work with them and at last, but not least, the peer groups where they multiply interactions, act on the whole development process, making it impossible to evaluate the individual influence of these elements, as they are not watertight in the way they all compete in a constant and permanent action in the place that childhood, and hence children occupy in our society.
The family's area of influence should provide a naturally quiet and safe space for children, sensitive to their specific needs and where they are behold as bearers of novelty and a path to the rebirth of the world. Instead, this is actually the very space where the child is often neglected, abused, used as tool to repair marriage contracts in decline, or even as "throwing weapons" among already broken couples, etc. .I don't mean to generalize, but we need to make a thorough analysis of the effects modern family structure transformations bare on today's children, and consequently their social status in different contexts should be reviewed, including and primarily in school.
This is where children spend most of their time, and if they are not in a real school context they end up enrolled in other activities that occupy most of their time, leaving no room for circumstances where they can discover their limits and the perception of their own freedom. Using Montandon (2001), an author that presents notions I relate to, I can say that it's extremely enriching for educational institutions to regard the child as a capable and intelligent being, with great ability to argument and fully aware of what they do and why they do it, that is, without neglecting the essential (not exclusive) function of school is to teach, teachers / educators should follow practices aimed at the promotion and development of an individual inserted in society from birth, but unique and essential in every single aspect, and not the creation of conditions leading children to feel like just one among many.
Therefore I consider it's essential that teachers / educators follow a mindset which does not regard the child as, using Locke's expression, a plain sheet in which teacher's role is to engrave norms and knowledge, but as a being capable of giving his own meaning to his experiences and to learn from them.
Written by Susana Faria - Kindergarten teacher.