The Alliance for Childhood European Network Group held one of its quarterly meetings in the European Parliament in Brussels on 4th December. Guest speakers were representatives of the Dutch Janusz Korczak Association.
Helma Brouwers gave an outline of Korczak’s life and his work as an educationalist. His first breakthrough came when he realised that he should find out how to teach children by asking them and giving them the right to make decisions about how to run the organisation. He found that their answers and solutions were much more creative than an adult would be capable of. From this he developed a pedagogy of respect and dialogue.
He believed that:
- Children and adults are equal. Children do not have to become people, they are already
- Being a child has its own independent meaning
- It’s necessary to take children seriously, from the youngest possible age.
He drew up a Magna Charta Libertatis of children’s fundamental human rights, predating the UNCRC.
The meeting was well attended and the presentation warmly received.
Read more about Janusz Korczak