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Why we respect, support and encourage student agency at Northbridge

Bissy Groom
Bissy Groom (8 posts) Deputy Head of Primary, PYP Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator and WASC Coordinator View Profile

All children have agency. It is not something that can be given or taken away, but it is something that we, as parents and educators, including here at Northbridge International School Cambodia, should respect, support and encourage in our children.

Music Northbridge International School Cambodia

When we support agency in our young people we are offering opportunities for them to develop important life skills such as critical and creative thinking, independence, confidence, and determination.

We are also helping to develop their self-efficacy, which is a person's belief and confidence in their own abilities to act, succeed and reach valued goals.

Our young people demonstrate agency when they:

  • Influence and direct their own learning

  • Make choices

  • Voice opinions

  • Ask questions and express wonderings

  • Communicate understandings

  • Construct new meanings

  • Participate and contribute to the learning community

From the IB PYP 'The Learner' page 3.

Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained, and delighted Dr. Seuss

SeeSaw is just one way we are supporting our students to make choices and influence and direct their own learning.

Children take pictures or videos of their learning, add a voice-over or caption, and upload it to their SeeSaw portfolio. This is a fantastic tool for reflection and for sharing their learning with people at home.

Taking the time to look at Seesaw with your child, write a response to their posts, or add a voice comment, lets your child know that you are a partner in their learning and are interested in what they have to say.

Other ways you can support your child at home:

  • Talk to them and ask for their opinion on issues.

  • Listen to their ideas.

  • Give them time and space to play and experiment.

  • Don't stress about mess! Let them play in the dirt, rub their hands in the paint, make a mess in the kitchen.

  • Agency is also about taking responsibility to clean up after yourself, so ask your child to help clean.

  • Trust your child to do things for themselves and make their own choices. It may take time, so try and be patient. For a three-year-old, agency might look like putting on their own shoes or choosing what they want to wear for the day.

The principle goal of education is to create [people] who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done - [people] who are creative, inventive, and discoverers Jean Piaget