Babies and children under 5 must be a central focus in the Scottish Government’s efforts to progress children’s rights in Scotland.
In our response to the consultation about incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law and embedding children’s rights in public services, we highlight our concern that the voices of very young children, in particular the 0-3s, will be under-represented.
Whilst we welcome initiatives for engaging children set in the Scottish Government’s Action Plan, many of the approaches currently set out, including unconferences and local discussion groups, are unsuitable for under 5s.
Significant investment is needed to ensure those who care for our youngest citizens have the knowledge and skills necessary for co-production and consultation with pre and non-verbal children, and are able to use approaches which develop agency and empowerment in under 5s.
A rights-based approach to engaging with expressive arts experiences is a particularly effective way of building babies’ and children’s skills and capacity to meaningfully engage in decision-making.