Working Group on the Quality of Childhood within the European Parliament A Vision on Children and Childhood in the European Union by Michiel Matthes Brussels, 4 March 2008. Autumn 2007: The Council of the European Union signs the Lisbon Treaty.
within the European Parliament
A Vision on Children and Childhood in the European Union
by Michiel Matthes
Brussels, 4 March 2008
What could be the basis for a Vision on Children and Childhood in the European Union?
The Alliance for Childhood European Network Group proposes to choose as basis:
The Quality of Childhood
The Structure of the Vision Paper: Childhood in the European Union?
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: What is a good Quality of Childhood?
Chapter 3: How to improve the Quality of Childhood in the European Union?
Chapter 4: The role that the European Commission could play
Chapter 2: What is a good Quality of Childhood? Childhood in the European Union?
In this paper we assume that a poor quality of childhood is harmful for children.
When society as a whole improves this quality, it will be beneficial for the children and the adolescents concerned and for the societies in which they grow up.
The philosophy of the wishes regarding the childhood environment is characterized by the following:
We do not say: the child must become authentic, but instead:
He / she has been shown what it is to be authentic.
We do not say: the child must have a secure attachment, but instead:
He / she has a parent who has the ability to form secure relationships.
Each group of people and each society can use this list as a starting point for its own discussion and amend it, enrich it and adapt it to its own environment and the phase of its development.
3.1 these questions?Consider the Whole System of Childhood
Cause and affect are sometimes
far apart; when we want to improve
the situation we must address
3.2 these questions?Organisational Set Up of the Whole System
In each compartment in this table organisations
and individuals are active; often they don’t know
each other, don’t relate to each other and often they
have a different perception of what is a child,
a different set of objectives , and activities, that may
go against those of other actors.
How do we look at human beings and human society?
What are our objectives with regards to our children and young people and their childhood environment?
3.4 The Methodology of intervention: young people and their childhood environment?
‘You have to be yourself the change you want to see in the child’ Mahatma Gandhi
This should be the leading approach for the Actors and Stakeholders in the whole system of childhood.
3.8 Bring the various Communities working for and with Children together on the basis of the Quality of Childhood (I)
Many scientific disciplines work on the topic of children and childhood.
They are not aware of each other’s work and they don’t work together.
It would be beneficial if these Scientific Communities would be brought together and invited to work together on improvements in the Quality of Childhood.
3.7 Bring the various Communities working for and with Children together on the basis of the Quality of Childhood (II)
Organizations and individuals working in the Field have often to find solutions for problems they are faced with and they do their best to cope as well as possible.
However, they are often not aware of the life changing research outcomes available in the universities and elsewhere.
Conclusion: bring also these Communities together.
For both parties it will be fruitful.
3.8 Bring the various Communities working for and with Children together on the basis of the Quality of Childhood (III)
In certain scientific areas knowledge flows easily from one country to another.
Example: physics, chemistry, medicine, economics etc.
This is much less the case for the sciences working on the topic of children, childhood, pedagogy, psychology, education etc.
It would be beneficial to establish networks of scientists in the various EU member states on the basis of the Quality of Childhood. It will accelerate learning processes.