New book of childrens’ voices

A NEW book representing the voices of 156 Tasmanian school children illustrates what is needed to improve and maintain their wellbeing.

The book, ‘When I Wake up I Smile,’ accompanies a learning resource to unify parents, carers and educators in their roles of improving wellbeing for children and young people.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean said the book and learning resource were designed “to give young people a say on what they need” and “to enable parents, educators, or people in the community to have conversations with children about their wellbeing.”

Ms McLean said she was “so proud” of what the children had produced.

“What this book does is bring the issues in their words to the minds and the hearts of the people making decisions without them,” she said.

At the book’s launch at New Town Primary School, Premier Peter Gutwein received a copy of ‘When I Wake up I Smile’ to codesign Tasmania’s first ever whole-of-government Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.

When creating the book, children aged four to eight participated in creative workshops with community arts company All That We Are.

They explored wellbeing themes ‘being safe and loved’, ‘having material basics’, ‘being healthy’, ‘learning’, ‘participating’, and ‘having a positive sense of culture and identity’.

Ms McLean also made various consultations on wellbeing with young Tasmanian children and parents, as well as learned from early learning and family centres.

“Listening to children, no matter how young, is vitally important when developing government policies for improving their wellbeing,” she said.

“It’s important to find developmentally and age-appropriate ways to really understand their viewpoints.”

Ms McLean said the book should be a “primary consultation input” in shaping the strategy to improving children and young peoples’ wellbeing.

As well as this, she said producing ‘When I Wake up I Smile’ will influence her future advocacy to ensure Tasmanian children and young people can access what they need to have “the very brightest futures”.

She said the government were “willing to listen to the voices of children and young people.”

“The next step is how we turn what we’ve heard into actions.”

Electronic versions of the book are available on the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s website at https://www.childcomm.tas.gov.au/.

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