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Small Voices, Big Changes - Putting the Voice of Children into action

1 November 2019

Children at Kelly’s Place, Crows Nest were provided with the means to express their voice loudly and clearly. Their story shows how children can be empowered to make changes in their own environment.

When exposed to the Cammeraygal concepts through a visit to the service from an Aboriginal education consultant, the children expressed great interest in the need to care for the land. As the children initiated further conversations, educators actively listened to and offered experiences for children to share their thoughts and feelings and create change.

Opportunities offered by educators at Kelly’s Place to capture children’s voices included:

  • Visits from an Aboriginal consultant to learn about Aboriginal culture and values
  • Small group and individual conversations encouraging children to ask questions and share their concerns
  • Providing information around topics of children’s interest e.g. advocacy, global warming, and who the decision makers are in their community
  • Brainstorming issues and solutions together
  • Keeping families informed of their children’s interests and actions
  • When children noticed issues with rubbish being dumped near their garden, they were supported to write a letter to the local Council to ask for a garbage bin
  • Displaying signs with important messages to the children that they had created
  • Participating in a local Council meeting
  • Experiencing success when a rubbish bin was installed with a plaque recognising their initiative
  • Writing a book to thank the local Council
  • Setting up a fundraiser for farmers by making and selling sustainable calico bags
  • Starting a petition to have the Aboriginal flag flown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Visits to local businesses to gather petition signatures

The children of Kelly’s Place were made aware that they have a whole community around them and that their voice is heard and important. The children became advocates and activists for issues they felt strongly about.

Educators skillfully: listened, guided, added information, and offered experiences as needed, and thus gave children the power for their voices to be heard far and wide. This provides a great example of how children can be supported to link their interests to their own local environment and even influence the broader community.

The Australian Government funded NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency is managed by KU Children’s Services, in partnership with Include Me and Gowrie NSW.