Child-Friendly Liaison Officer Cardiff Council, Wales, United Kingdom
Amy is the child-friendly liaison officer at the Cardiff Council in Wales, U.K., and an advocate for children’s rights. Cardiff is the first city in Wales to participate Unicef U.K.’s “Child Friendly Cities” initiative. Amy works with teachers and curriculum officers to embed StartSOLE in her city’s schools.
We’ve had four schools introduced to StartSOLE, and two schools have started implementing it within their lessons. And we’re looking now to branch out further and build upon that.
I really hone in on the enjoyment that the children and young people have. This way of learning, this different, exciting, engaging way of learning that lets the children take things into their own hands and feel empowered and feel like they have a responsibility to teach themselves, and go forward and find answers to those big questions. It’s a simple concept, but it’s so effective.
It’s about keeping a sense of curiosity among young people. The ability for them to ask questions constantly, and be curious about things and want to learn more and more. It’s scientifically proven that we tend to lose that. As we get older, we stop asking questions, we stop wanting to learn, we stop wanting to know more. And I feel that StartSOLE helps keep that going, and keeps it alive. And as we implement it throughout most schools, not just primary schools, but also high schools, wherever the kids go, they keep their curiosity with them. They can take that into the world of work afterward, and hopefully as they continue to develop as human beings, and pass on that method of learning to other children and people as adults.
Something that’s exciting is that they can go and work away in groups, and talk among themselves, and teach themselves, and learn and present and use and develop those skills. It’s a very engaging way of working, and I think children enjoy being able to take their learning into their own hands. In some of the traditional methods of teaching, they sit and listen to the teachers and try to absorb all the information they’re given. But this is a more hands-on experience, and they really enjoy being able to work with one another.
Alyssa Briggs, PhD, is a senior educational consultant for TIES and a trained storyteller. She worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers across the country and also served as the director of a college journalism program.