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.
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
Ask questions and express wonderings
Construct new meanings
Participate and contribute to the learning community
From the IB PYP 'The Learner' page 3.
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.
Suggested further reading:
The Key to Raising a Happy Child - Mindshift
The Secret Power of Play - Time
Student Agency - What Is It and Why Should Teachers / Parents Care? - From the Chalkface
PYP Students Take the Lead - Sharing PYP Blog
5 Guidelines for Giving Kids Choices - Psychology Today