Exploring agency to create calm

5 MIN READ

Children’s Agency creates calm

Children actively construct their own understandings and contribute to others’ learning. They recognise their agency and capacity to initiate and lead learning and their rights to participate in decisions that affect them, including their learning.

Sense of Agency

The EYLF explains agency is being able to make choices and decisions, to influence events and to have an impact on your world (EYLF page 45). A child with a sense of agency is someone who takes ownership of the thoughts, intentions and actions they generate. A child’s sense of agency is central to how they perceive experiences and their role within society.

The Guide to the National Quality Standards says assessors may look at how:

  • educators support play experiences initiated by children
  • educators allow children to direct their own play experiences with their peers
  • children begin to initiate negotiating and share behaviour
  • children show leadership, make decisions and follow directions given by other children

Agency can be a difficulut concept for educators. Below is an example of an educator’s discussion with an assessor explaining agency.

“We get excited when children make choices and celebrate their achievements. We have looked at ourselves and asked the questions, “do we do too much for children? Do we get in their way with our adult routine?” We see agency is aligned with identity and how they fit into the world. When you take parents’ perspectives into account, children do more then we expect they can and working with parents to promote their agency is great. For example, we have children taking control of their room by cleaning, setting up for lunch, setting their beds and running the room.

After morning tea the children washed their own plates, showing us just how much they enjoy taking responsibility and using the kinds of equipment they see grown-ups using all the time. They even waited patiently to have their turn. Olivia enjoyed the activity so much she got extra plates off the trolley to wash. Perhaps we could use her in the kitchen.

Friday means cleaning day so we used the opportunity to get the kids involved with the jobs. Skirting boards and chairs were all scrubbed. The children enjoyed the activity and it helps them to feel like they belong when they are given real responsibility as well as teaching them to care for their environment.”

How will you help enable children to have a sense of agency?

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