The schooling of children and adolescents has historically meant decisive progress in the right to education for all. Even today it continues to be a great challenge because close to 300 million boys and, above all, girls in the world do not go to school and more than 600 million young people on the planet do not have the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics. For this reason, the political struggle to achieve an increasingly democratic and quality school continues to be essential. However, it would be a mistake to consider that the right to education is reduced to schooling and that the public powers must stop there.
As an African proverb says, “it takes a whole tribe to educate a child”: we grow up in a vast ecosystem where each one in their own way contributes to creating the essential ground for good development. And, of course, families play a fundamental role by creating a framework of security to help sons and daughters overcome their primal impulses, guaranteeing that they will be cared for and protected, no matter what.
We also know that the use of language by people who surround young children from birth creates serious inequalities: on the one hand, because the number of words known and usable when entering school can vary on a scale from 1 to 10 (approximately 600 to 6,000 words) and determine to a large extent how integration into the school culture will be, the understanding of instructions and the initiation to reading and writing. On the other hand, because girls and boys can benefit, or not, from a language elaborated with numerous verbal exchanges, with friendly reformulations and serene discussions that allow them to learn to make common decisions.
Added to this is the unprecedented role that screens play today in the daily lives of our sons and daughters. Also new social approaches to gender justice that question many Or the way of educating reproduced generation after generation based on prohibitions and punishments, and that is already difficult to sustain. For all these reasons, many families that are sometimes accused of having resigned are, in reality, completely helpless.
In this scenario, public policies cannot limit their investment only to school and relegate the other dimensions of education to families or, even worse, only to mothers. Policies must integrate all areas that contribute to the good development of childhood: from urban planning and mobility, to cultural spaces and free time and care for children and support for upbringing.
In this scenario, public policies cannot limit their budgetary and human investment to the school and relegate the other dimensions of education to families, or even worse only to mothers. Policies must integrate all areas that contribute to the good development of childhood: the organization of the city in all its dimensions such as urban planning, mobility, cultural spaces and free time, care for children and support for breeding.
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For all these reasons, it is essential to promote educational spaces for exploration, play and socialization before and in parallel to school, with competent professionals so that all children grow up in a rich material environment, in a friendly social environment and in a stimulating intellectual environment. It is key to support and accompany families in the exercise of their educational responsibility: mothers and fathers must not be left alone in the face of the difficulties they encounter; they should be able to discuss their problems with other families, share their concerns, and ask for helpful supports. All families need to have calm exchanges with other educational agents: teachers, educators, monitors, health personnel, etc. They need to contrast their perceptions and jointly identify the best ways to act in the situations they experience.
All governments must ensure that parenting does not continue to be the dead angle of public policies: that parenting and family education is the subject of public debate, expert contributions and meetings open to all people concerned about the quality of education that we give to our childhood
Faced with this shared challenge, we can only rejoice at the efforts of Barcelona, an educational city par excellence, in promoting a public network of 25 family spaces for upbringing for more than 1,500 families. An educational service where, while young girls and boys discover and share games, families find mutual and professional support. Thus, they come out of their solitude, obtain information and exchange with others to reflect, without arrogance or guilt, how to act as families.
In fact, neither teachers, nor monitors, nor social educators, nor mothers or fathers will be able to face, alone, the current educational challenges: their educational alliance is, more than ever, essential. An alliance so that our children can learn and understand the world and, at the same time, build a future in solidarity.
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