Working with Children

Written by Ruth Grigg © 2010

BA Honours Integrated Childhood Studies & Early Years Professional Status

CHAPTER 1:  Development Through Play
CHAPTER 2:  Children's Development
CHAPTER 3:  Development through Play
CHAPTER 4:  Children’s Development & Parenting Children’s Health
CHAPTER 5:  The Basis of Learning
CHAPTER 6:  Behaviour Management
CHAPTER 7:  Child Abuse
CHAPTER 8:  Ministering to Sick & Damaged Children 
CHAPTER 9:  Children’s Spiritual Development Children’s Centres
APPENDIX 10: Children’s Activities & Games 

APPENDIX 2: Development Charts 


APPENDIX 4: UN rights of a child


In this chapter we will explore the principles of play, how children develop through place (SPICE), stages of development in play, the stages of play, and different types of play. In Appendix 1 & 2 there are suggestions for Circle Games, Outdoor games, and other play suggestions.

The Principles of Play

PLAY is the BEST TOOL a child can have to help children develop. Adults need to provide regular daily times for children to play and relax, and to build play into the children’s learning environment and home environment – through play children have fun, relax, and learn and the same time – and play takes the stress out of the everyday life of a child.

Adults can model play, can join in play, can initiate play (i.e. large group games) can & should supervise play, can observe play, and can ‘scaffold’ during play– ‘scaffolding’ means to build on children’s knowledge and understanding whilst they are playing, by adding in new language/words/meanings, or by extending a child’s knowledge during play. I would encourage all childcare workers and teachers to let PLAY be the basis of your work with children; this will also forge relationships between yourself and the children you work with, because when YOU PLAY with them, they FEEL VALUED and LOVED and UNDERSTOOD – if play was only good for that reason, then that alone WOULD BE WORTH IT!

Play is important to children because it helps children develop in a natural, non-threatening way. Play helps children to discover, explore and understand how things work, and what they do, and why; play helps children understand people - how they think and feel and behave and why; and play helps children learn about the world around them, in a way that makes sense to them.

If children are allowed to play from an early age upwards, they will develop good creative and imaginative skills (which are the foundation for reading and writing, story telling, problem solving). If children are allowed to play, children develop their use and understanding of communication and language skills, and social skills (using body language, gestures, facial expressions, the right words, in right context and how to ask for things, or who to ask, how to change words and meanings and make sentences etc). Creative play or role play helps children to resolve issues, to overcome anxiety, and to practice skills.

Play also helps children to develop their physical skills – they learn how to use all their muscles and strengthen their Gross Motor Skills by use, e.g. when skipping or kicking a ball and running around – they also learn how to control the Fine Motor Skills and movements during play – e.g. they can play ‘cooking’ – they will then use their fingers, wrists and hands to develop good fine motor control. All types of play need to be encouraged and available to children to help them develop holistically.

There is no concise definition of play that could possibly cover all the features and ideas that people include when we think about ‘play’. Not everyone agrees about the nature of play and where to draw boundaries. However, a general consensus (but not a definition) has been agreed through theorist and literature on children’s play, some of which I will be sharing with you.

My idea/theory is that play is fluid – it can take many forms, have many meanings, express itself in many ways; it cannot be contained within a box or shape to represent this or that, then labelled as ‘play’. If play is taken out of one context and put into another, it changes its shape and purpose and the way it moves or performs. Play has many facets and all of then have equal value.

Children seem to play regardless of cultural background, although play is not identical across cultures. I noticed a difference in role play and creative play between African and British children – but the difference was merely a reflection of cultures and experiences, not the type of play involved. Circumstances can prevent or restrict play and development. Constraints and restrictions are often placed on children by adults, or they may be limited by their environment, and children with developmental problems, disability or illness often have restricted access to play, and therefore their development through play may be delayed.

Adults need to then enable disadvantaged children to play, to make it accessible to them by adapting the equipment or games, and adapting the way the equipment is played with, or adapting the way the game is played. Adults can also enable disadvantaged children by pairing more able children with less able children, and show children how to include the less able.

Play is essentially a voluntary and pleasurable activity. It may be undertaken with great seriousness and attention, and may lead to significant learning about their world. Children play because they want to and because it gives them enjoyment. Children play for play’s sake.

Play is important because, it helps children develop in a natural, non-threatening way. Play helps children to discover, explore and understand how things work, and what they do, and why; play helps children understand people - how they think and feel and behave and why; and play helps children learn about the world around them, in a way that makes sense to them.

Play is an activity in itself and is not undertaken for an end product, although some children like to make things in play, and teachers may use play as a tool for learning (if you do, try to keep the learning open- ended, and let children tell you what they are learning, rather than you tell them).

If children are allowed to play they will develop good creative and imaginative skills (which are the foundation for reading and writing, story telling, problem solving). If they are allowed to play, children develop their use and understanding of communication and language skills, and social skills (using body language, gestures, facial expressions, the right words, in right context and how to ask for things, or who to ask, how to change words and meanings and make sentences etc). There is a subtle interplay between communication, social interaction and imagination in play. These difficulties become clear when you observe children who have difficulty in play, such as autistic children.* Autistic children’s play may not be understood by adults, but it has meaning to them.

Creative play or role play helps children to resolve issues, to overcome anxiety, and to practice skills. Play stems from children’s own perception of the world and how it works, so it is very personal and creative. Within children’s understanding, play is meaningful and connected to reality.

Play also helps children to develop their physical skills – they learn how to use all their muscles and strengthen them by use, e.g. when skipping or kicking a ball and running around – they also learn how to control the finer movements during play – e.g. they can play ‘cooking’ – they will then use their fingers, wrists and hands to develop good fine motor control.

*Autistic – children with a triad of impairments, including: social interaction, inflexibility/rigidity of thought or behaviour patterns, speech or language impairment. They will need specialised teaching.

How Children Develop through Play - SPICE

Children develop Social skills through play, Physical Skills, Intellectual Skills, Communication and Language Skills, and they gain Emotional development, as below:

S – Social this includes: relationships, learning self reliance, making decisions and choices, taking responsibilities. As children grow up, their play changes, and the social side of play is more significant.

P – Physical this includes: gross motor, or large skills of movement e.g. walking, running, skipping, jumping etc, AND fine motor or hand & eye co-ordination, using your wrist, hand, fingers etc. This develops children’s strength and co-ordination.

I – Intellectual this includes: building attention span; concentration and memory; cognitive development and learning basic concepts; understanding information gained through the senses; making connections between old learning and current learning – building on learning; and extending imagination and creativity. Intellectual development involves reasoning, logical thinking, questioning, investigation and problem-solving.

C - Communication & Language
This involves understanding and acquiring language and communication skills. (Communication ALSO involves body language, eye contact, tone and pitch of voice, facial expressions etc). RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE is what children know and understand, and EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE is what children are able to express in words and able to communicate effectively to others.

E – Emotional Development
This involves a child’s self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence, identity and independence. This is often damaged in children, due to family relationships or often due to abuse – this is VERY DIFFICULT to repair, but not impossible!

Stages of Development in Play

Children go through different stages of play, which helps adults to understand where children are in their development; however some stages overlap, and sometimes children relapse back to a previous stage if there is any trauma, abuse, or ongoing difficulties in their child’s life.

Solitary – in solitary play, a child is absorbed in his/her own play, apart from other children, shows no interests in their activity, often silent or talking to themselves.

Parallel – in parallel play, children all play the same part or with the same things, but there is no sharing or taking turns. Play may be silent, and talk is not usually directed at anyone in particular.

Observing – at this stage, the child shows interests in others activity but remains alone. At this stage, other children are more important than playthings, even is there is no conversation between them.

Joining In – in this stage children are trying to join in the group play of others, to be accepted as a group member – there is a little talking, sometimes in imitation.

Simple Co-operation – this stage involves the child taking part in a shared activity, doing the same things, sharing toys, taking turns, working with others. Talk is mostly related to playing.

Complex Co-operation – this stage involves complicated pretend games with other children taking agreed parts. Talk is mainly concerned with parts being played.

Different Types of Play

Practice play (Piaget) – play behaviour of very young children and babies from birth to about 2-3 years old. This type of play is exploratory based on physical activities, and the use of their senses – e.g. a young child or baby may enjoy repeatedly banging one object against another to ‘see’ what will happen. Children use their senses to explore objects, and babies often put things in their mouth to get a sense of taste.

Symbolic play (Piaget/Hughes) – children use one tool/object to represent another; this develops from about 2 – 6 years, and reveals how children think, which is reflected in their play. Hughes says that symbolic play allows children to exercise control and explore without the risk of being out of their depth.

Construction play or Manipulative – children spend time playing with building blocks and construction sets, and like manipulating items, e.g. cutting, puzzles, matching shapes etc.

Imaginative play & role play – Children enjoy materials like collage, paint, sand and water, or play dough; they create their own reality through play. Children also like ‘small world play’ – very small toys that represent their world, e.g. small cars, small people, small houses etc, and children enjoy role-play, where they are able to take on, and act out the role of somebody else, e.g. a policeman, in a safe play environment.

Destructive play - children enjoying creating, to destroy what they have made. They get great satisfaction fro changing one thing into another. This need is in every child.... Sand, clay, dough are easily provided, and cause no harm or damage.

Epistemic play (Hutt) – this type of play focuses on acquiring knowledge and information, dealing with problem solving and exploration – based on exploration e.g. ‘what does this object do?’ This type of play is deemed to be productive, promoting learning.

Ludic play (Hutt) – this type of play includes symbols and fantasy. This type of play is repetitive, can be affected by moods, and children experiment with objects, and what they can do with them – it is investigative play.

Adventure / Physical – this type of play is very physical, involving climbing, crawling, jumping, balancing etc, and this helps physical and mental growth.

Rough and Tumble play (Hughes) – this is close encounter play that is playful and obviously enjoyed by children, involving touching, tickling, chasing etc and they are not genuinely fighting.

Games with rules (Piaget) – group imaginary games, with shared rules and often ‘roles’ and leaders. Develops at around 6/7 years old.

For School/Church Group:

1.  In small groups, discuss what you now understand about play from this chapter/lesson. Has your perspective changed?

2.  How does play help children to develop?

3.  What play opportunities can you provide for the children that you work with? (see Appendix for some ideas)

For Journal (homework):

1. OBSERVE children playing, noting their social development, physical development, intellectual development, communication skills, and their emotional development. What impact has this had on your views of play?


In this chapter we are exploring how children develop and their needs, from conception to 18 years, from a Godly perspective: we will be looking at their physical needs, spiritual and emotional needs and stages of development, and how parents and carers can contribute to their children’s development. In Appendix 3, there are developmental charts to aid understanding and learning in this chapter.

Firstly, positive nurturing needs to be the over-riding theme in all areas of looking after children. Children are precious, made in God’s image and special to Him, and their lives are forming in our hands – we must make sure we do NOT crush them, crush their spirit, crush their creativity or their individuality, but rather nurture them, guide them, love them, teach them, and help them achieve their potential in life.

To nurture children we need to look after their:

Physical needs (food, clothes, health): If we know the child is NOT getting enough nutrition at home,what can you do to help? Can you provide at least one meal of porridge and fruit with a drink when they come to your school? If they live in a children’s home, can you make sure they are getting a balanced diet, as far as is possible? Can you help the child/family with clothes? Can you help with regards to their health (i.e. can you advise parents/workers on good medical or hygiene practice? Can you educate parents or workers about diseases, avoiding certain foods or water? Can you educate parents/workers on how to handle sickness? Can you take them to a clinic or nurse them when they are ill?

Children have social and emotional needs, and need to feel Safe: children need friendships and attachments and close bonds with other children and with carers/key-workers, and they need to feel SAFE with their carers/parents etc. If children are in a home where there is domestic violence or they are being abused, or they have been made homeless or their parents have died, they will feel INSECURE and ANXIOUS – they need our help and protection.

In Schools, Youth Clubs and Children’s Homes, Children Centres etc, children need key-workers, people they can talk to, go to when they need help, someone who knows them and their needs, and will be their advocate. Children also need to feel loved and that they BELONG. We can help them feel they belong to our school/home and are part of our community.

Children also have spiritual needs: you can teach them about their Loving Father, their GOOD Father God who never leaves them or forsakes them, or lets them down, nor hurts them, nor abuses them. His love for them is unconditional; His love for them is perfect and unending, and unchanging, and He is their provider/protector. We can ask Him our Father for anything in prayer, and He will hear us and answer us.

Children have intellectual or educational needs: a child’s education needs to start where the child is, from what they already know, and build up from there. If you are working with young children, LEARNING, at an early age, develops through PLAY and exploration, communication and the use of language to explain and explore what is happening; learning comes through adults modelling activities and behaviour and giving children opportunities, learning comes through children exploring and discovering, through stories and songs, etc not just formal education.

LASTLY, children have a need for self-actualization – or self-fulfilment. Each of us has or had a dream about what we want to achieve in life, and some of us reach our goals. We can inspire and, encourage children and young people to reach their goals, without putting too much pressure on them – but supporting them.

Factors affecting development:

There are several factors that can affect development in children and young people, including:

Social and economic factors

Genetic factors


Housing, environment and social circumstances


Children raised in poverty are less likely to thrive than a child who enjoys economic stability. A family on a low income will not have access to the same diet and will lack nutrients need for optimum growth and development. Inadequate clothing, heating, food and safety features can put the child at more risk than others. Children who are born with genetic disorders or illness will develop at a slower pace than others, and teachers/workers need to make allowances for this. Some children suffer with health issues as a result of poor diet, or genetic disorders or learning difficulties, and this will affect their overall development and learning.

Children who live in poor housing and disadvantaged circumstances may also have respiratory illnesses and a greater rate of accidental injuries, both of which will affect the child’s development generally, and may result in serious trauma or chronic ill health. Children who they live in densely populated areas where there is industrial fumes will also be affected, due to the lack of fresh air and open spaces. By contrast, children who live in privileged circumstances are less likely to suffer setbacks and will often feel more settled and have fewer health issues and worries. They are more able to enjoy their childhood. And lastly, children need a stimulating environment, and opportunities for learning and exploration. Lack of stimulation, lack of social interaction and lack of communication can cause a delay the child’s development and maturation, whilst the right amount of stimulation will promote children’s development.


In this chapter we will look at children’s development and needs from conception to 18 years, and how parents can apply good parenting skills to help their children develop and mature. There are also development charts in the Appendix 4, to aid understanding.


We need to understand that LIFE BEGINS at CONCEPTION. When we look at scriptures we see

this is how the Lord perceives us, it says in Psalms 139:13-18:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame is not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

Because the Lord values life, and because he is involved in forming us in the womb, then abortion is not something I believe, we should consider. If the parents or family are really unable to look after the child, then careful consideration needs to be given about the child’s future and who can really look after the child, love and nurture them in the way the child needs. Just a short personal story here: I was born in the 1960’s, and my mother had rubella (German measles) when she was carrying me. The doctors at that time strongly urged her to have an abortion, because, according to them, I would have been born deaf and blind. My mother very nearly went through the abortion, and changed her mind, and cancelled the abortion, just before they were going to operate. She decided she would look after me, even if I had disabilities. I was born perfectly normal, with no blindness or deafness. If my mother had listened to the doctors instead of her own instincts, then she could have allowed an abortion of a perfectly normal child. 

Even though I do not factually ‘remember’ the incident, in my spirit remembered it. All my life I felt a sense of not belonging and rejection, and felt afraid for my life, like I was under threat. It came from this time in my life, when there was potential for my life to end before it began. I also believe the enemy was behind this. He knew God had a good plan and purpose for my life, and how God would use me in ministering to others. Satan is the destroyer. He is the one who seeks to steel, KILL and DESTROY, not just spiritually, but literally. This is not God’s plan for us. He has good plans for us. He came to give us LIFE and LIFE, MORE ABUNDANTLY!

I know that mother’s who have conceived but have aborted, have often gone through a time of grief and guilt afterwards, for many years. Some have not been able to resolve this issue in their life, and have not been able to receive God’s grace and forgiveness for this event. We need to bring these mother’s to a place of healing and peace with God and to minister God’s grace and forgiveness to them. We need to love them, but also to educate others to know and understand how God values life, we need to try to protect life, to prevent abortion, and provide alternative ways of looking after the little ones that God loves.

In other places in the Bible, God speaks about knowing them BEFORE they were born, and appointing and ordaining them to carry out the task He has for them. God has GOOD plans for our lives. In Jeremiah 29:11 it says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When God called Jeremiah he said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jerm 1:5). In Galatians Paul says that God, who set him apart from birth and called him by his grace.... Paul and Jeremiah aren’t the only ones God has called and set apart, or the only ones he has good plans for. He has good plans for all of our lives. We were planned and ordained before birth. None of us are here by accident or by chance. He saw us all forming in the womb and he loved us then. We need to know we don’t just have an earthy father, but a heavenly one, and he values life. He values us, because he formed us in our mother’s womb. He gives us each our own identity. We were made in God’s image, even if we have imperfections, physical, mental and learning disabilities. God loves us and made us, and he doesn’t make mistakes. We should not be ashamed of ourselves or of our children if they are imperfect. We love them anyway, the way the Lord does.

Many children and adults have issues with their existence, whether they should be here on this earth or not? And whether they are accepted or rejected, whether they belong, or where they belong .... This often comes from our own experiences as children. If our earthly parents, or our family have rejected us, then that can affect our self-esteem and self-worth for the rest of our life; we may feel we have no value or worth, but in God’s eyes, our Heavenly Father, we most certainly do! Do you know that a baby in the womb can feel the same feelings as the mother? If the mother rejects the child, the baby will feel it and know it.

A factor we need to consider is the health and welfare of the mother, as this affects the health and welfare of the baby in her womb. Excessive alcohol can seriously damage a baby before they are born, and can cause foetal alcohol syndrome, which results in the child having development delays, deformities or learning difficulties. Pregnant woman are advised NOT to drink alcohol whilst pregnant due to the risks involved. Poor nutrition in the pregnant mum will also have an adverse effect on the foetus, often causing premature births, or neural disorders such as spina bifida, which is caused by lack of folic acid in the mother’s body during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy (even passive smoking) can affect a baby’s birth weight and can also lead to learning difficulties in the child, and the child may be at risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or the child may develop respiratory conditions such as asthma. Non-essential drugs and illegal drugs need to be avoided during pregnancy also, because they can cause development delay and babies can be born addicted to drugs and suffer withdrawal symptom after birth and experience great distress. Many of these babies suffer developmental problems and some develop epilepsy, hence it is essential to advise and warn pregnant mothers to refrain from habits or behavior that will cause their child serious harm, and affect them for the rest of their lives.

Healthy parenting involves looking after the mother and child’s health before and after the baby is born, and it involves acceptance, affirmation and love as the basis of security for our children and the basis of emotional development and health. It is so important to value our young ones, to accept and love them as the Lord does, and to nurture them as valuable human beings. A mother also needs nurturing from her own husband, she needs good nutrition and pre-natal care. A mother needs to feel secure and healthy. When she is happy and secure, she can pass this on to her children. Physical and spiritual bonding between parents and children is essential to the child’s well-being. We can regularly pray over the child before they are born, bringing that sense of belonging and bonding. We also need to know that strife and arguing or abusive behaviour in the home causes children to feel insecure and fearful, unsafe. It wounds the child.

Children who have been rejected or abandoned, or just not wanted, may grow up with difficulties relating to the outside world, because they fear rejection from the world. Some children or young people may later develop eating disorders, some may develop autistic tendencies (isolation), depression, or habits, such as drinking, based in and on their insecurity.

Children and adults alike need a sense of belonging – belonging to a family, to a culture, a group. Everyone needs an identity. Children need our time and energy. If we know or work with children who have been rejected and abandoned by their own parents and families, then we as Christian workers need to offer them that love and acceptance and nurturing them so desperately need. It is not too late. We can help to heal the brokenness inside them. We can help to restore children and young people who have been damaged before and after birth by giving them unconditional love at all times; by helping them to define reality and dangers in their life, by helping them to identify and verbalise their feelings. We need to continue to affirm them about who they are in God, and continue to pray for and with them.

Birth to 6 months

Psalm 71:5 says, “From my birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 22:9, says, “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

From birth to 6 months babies have developmental issues with: existence, basic trust, symbiotic (bonding) relationships, problem solving and communication. Children understand our feelings for them. They need to feel they can trust us. The bonding process between the child and parents is essential to their whole existence and self esteem. It helps babies and children to form a solid foundation to work from. Where there is good foundations and good bonding, children are able to explore their world, and they are able to problem solve about having their basic needs met, like feeding and learning to communicate through body language, facial expressions, verbal expressions and crying. Babies will learn to integrate their feelings and thoughts with crying. When they cry, the mother comes to meet their needs, then they have their problem solved. The child connects their feelings of hunger to thought patterns, and to crying and sucking. If at all possible, we need to feed the baby on demand at this age – when they are hungry, or the child looses hope and trust in the adults in their life. Crying is a gift from God at this stage. Crying is the baby’s language that expresses their need. Cooing and smiling expresses a child’s happiness and contentment.

If a baby’s needs are cared for properly, then the non-verbal message they receive is this:

“It is GOOD to exist. I am loved and cared for, no matter what I need or feel. I can trust my needs will be met.”

A baby will begin to discover, trust and explore their own movements. They discover their own movements. They will start to look around, start to reach out and touch, start to kick, start to roll, start to sit up, start to sit up. The baby needs positive affirmations (verbal and non-verbal) from the parents and carers like this:

“ I am glad you are alive. You belong with us. Your needs are important. You can grow and develop at your own pace. You can have feelings. I love you and delight in you. You are loved for who you are.”

Unhealthy parenting and caring will not respond appropriately to the child’s cries or needs, and will not understand or meet their needs. If their needs are not met, the baby may become passive, or develop excessive crying, or feeding problems. We need to be sensitive to the baby’s needs, and meet them as soon as possible.

Babies and young children will understand your body language, and facial expressions. If they are shouted at, or ignored, they will develop fear. If you give them affection and nurture them and if you respond appropriately to the baby’s needs, stimulate them and their five senses, and give them unconditional love, they will , they will become healthy and strong. The baby feels accepted and wanted when touched, especially by the parents.

Six months to 24 months

Exploration and mobility are key at this stage in their life. A baby will be rolling, crawling, standing

up, and beginning to walk. They will know their own feelings and will display them. They will use initiative and try to do things on their own, and are very creative. They will not have a sense or knowledge of danger, so adults will need to be nearby at all times to guide and protect them. They will develop fantasy and imagination and personal perception. They learn and discover through their five senses, and through songs and rhymes, movement, and interaction with adults and other babies and children. They will need affirmation and that it’s OK for them to explore and they still be taken care of, and that it’s OK to initiate activity and express their feelings. They need to know they have our attention and approval, and they need us to tell them what is good and what is not. We can teach them and let them feed themselves, even if it is messy. Curiosity at this stage in their life is good.

Unhealthy parenting at this stage promotes performance and compares their child to others. We need to allow our children to grow and develop in their own way and time and not compare them to others, especially siblings, as this causes jealousy and insecurities in our children. Unhealthy parenting will be over- protective and not allow exploration. This will slow down the child’s personal, social, physical development and intellectual development. If parents start toilet training too early can be harmful to children, causing them stress and distress to both parents and child. We need to wait until the child is fully physically ready and can co-operate with us. Positive and healthy parenting on the other hand, will give unconditional love and care and will allow self-feeding, allow movement and exploration, will be mindful of dangers, but not become over-protective.

If a child is not parented well, they may develop passivity, or excessive crying, or become slow at learning, or become over adaptive, e.g. always wanting to please the parents or adults in their life, because of their own inner anxiety. In adulthood, poor parenting as a child can lead us to feel fearful, incapable, lack self-control, lack attachments and lack freedom in God. If parented well, as adults we will become self- motivated, have good social interaction, know and acknowledge our own wants and needs, and become sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Good parenting will give permission for a child to explore, to feel and think, to solve problems, and will always affirm the child.

Two Years (Toddler stage)

Two years old is a delicate age. The child will express lots of anger and frustration at things they cannot do, achieve, or cannot have. They show opposition and rebellion, and they are beginning to express themselves verbally, with words like, “NO !” Sometimes the ‘no!’ is out of rebellion, sometimes, it is because they feel a bit fearful or unsure about what you are asking, and sometimes they genuinely don’t want to do something – it is not their choice and they are letting you know about it. It is not wrong for children to express their choice, and we need to respect that they have thoughts and feelings of their own, so we will need to be patient with them whilst they are discovering their own feelings.

They are becoming more independent, more exploratory, they have more movement, more vocabulary, and they like to socialize. A child is learning anger management and learning self-control. They need to learn how to express their frustration and anger in the right way, not through hitting or biting or tantrums, but in a positive way. We can teach them how to express their anger through the right words, and through actions that do not cause others harm.

A toddler will need positive correction and discipline, but not caning! Caning affects the tissues in the body, veins, cells and can affect their physical development, and build up anger and resentment in the child. Parents and carers need to use POSITIVE behavioural techniques and methods, which we will explore in more detail in a later chapter. A two year old can have a toy or object taken away from him/her and they will learn the consequences of their own behaviour. A two year old can also be put in ‘time-out’ where they are physically separated from others. Control, competition and co-operation can become an issue with children at this age, and the child needs to learn that the adult is in control. Adults need to also learn self- control and handle these situations wisely, so they do not damage the child, but teach the child self-control.

Toilet training can begin anytime after a child is 2 years old, but they need to be ready. Sometimes boys take longer, and this should not be enforced before a child is ready as it will cause emotional damage. Toilet training is a feel, think and do process. It’s about training and conditioning. We should try not to pressurize the child but be matter-of-fact about training them, and monitor the child when they need to use the toilet – they will show signs, like pulling at the trousers or fidgeting etc. If they manage the process, then reward them with praise, if they make mistakes and have accidents, the adults should NOT belittle them or punish them, they are just accidents and the child is learning control. If an adult responds in the wrong way to an accident, it will cause the child to become fearful and can cause them to retain their stools and become constipated.

The parents and adults in a 2 year old’s life, need to keep giving life-giving affirmations, e.g.
“It’s OK to discover limits. It’s OK to say ‘no’ and be independent. You are good at thinking for yourself, and your needs are valid. It’s good to let people know when you are angry.”

Unhealthy parenting will lack discipline, guidelines or boundaries or will over discipline their children in inappropriate ways. Healthy parenting will give unconditional love and teach toddlers about feelings and how to express them appropriately and how to solve problems.

3 – 5 years

At this age children are becoming more imaginative and they gather lots of information, and ask lots

of questions. They can be literal and legalistic and they are learning to define reality – what the world is and what it is not. They do not forget easily, so we need to watch what we say to them.... if we lie or don’t keep our word, they will remember, and they will learn about lying and cheating. They are learning social skills; how to behave and interact. They can identify and label their feelings and they identify with role-models and with gender roles, including them in their role-play. The 3 to 5 year old needs structure and needs limits.

The 3 to 5 year old needs positive life affirmations, such as:

“You can find out who you are and who other people are. You can develop imagination and you can develop and explore your feelings. Your feelings are Ok and they are important. You are good at doing....... I am proud of you because ....... You are smart."

Unhealthy parenting can involve teasing – children at this age are literal and can be hurt easily. Don’t ignore their feelings, and the adult can tell the child what they are feeling too. Because children are defining reality, we must be careful not to reinforce fear in them through fantasy. One of the big issues for children this age is fear. Children may be fearful of things real and unreal. Children may be fearful of asking for information and fear that people won’t like them. Parents and carers need to be a model of God’s grace and define reality for them, to confront scare tactics, and help children to express their need.

Parents also need to give their children their time, and not become pre-occupied with work or other things that makes children feel unnoticed or unimportant. Parents need to give children information and should not ridicule their questions, nor restrict their gender and role-play.

Healthy parenting involves spending time with children this age. Children need their parents and carers, and they need lots of affection. Parents should not give them everything they want, but give them what they need. Healthy parenting involves being a good role-model, helping children to identify their feelings, affirming their gender role and identity, and allocating time just for them.

6 to 12 years

The 6 to 12 year old goes through a time of experimenting, developing skills, arguing, hassling and

disagreeing, competing, and learning priorities. Healthy behaviour for their stage of development involves arguing and reasoning, striving to reach goals, building friendships, being physically active, and being aware of, and responsible for their own personal hygiene issues.

They develop different interests and skills and love competing and comparing – they also argue, disagree with others. Children this age argue with their parents, and like to express their own opinion.

At this age they are learning priorities and discover what they like, and what is important to them. They process issues and are willing to explore and are open to new ideas, but they may not make the correct and right decisions. They explore goals for their own life, and think about what they would like to become and do, which we need to help them to achieve, as far as possible. They may not complete a task they have started, but we need to make sure the task we ask them to do, is completed. They are also growing stronger, their bodies are changing, they are physically active, and they become more aware of personal hygiene. They are discovering the world outside and want to explore it.

Parents need to help with children’s interactions and provide a good environment for making relationships. They could easily fall into the wrong company and could easily get into drugs. They will find out that friends really are, and they stay with their own gender group (mostly). Unhealthy parenting is blames the child, is too harsh and unjust, and punishment is not healthy; it causes the children to feel manipulated or controlled, provoked, helpless and withdrawn.

Healthy parenting helps children with community activities and becomes involved with them; becoming involved with their children’s development and homework, and skills they want to learn in life. Parents need to teach their children their values and biblical values and rules, but should not become too rigid with this.... allow the children to take part in making the rules!
Healthy parenting gives children some responsibility, but does not involve children in child labour. Healthy parenting allows the child to discuss issues and values and rules, and listens to their reasoning. Healthy parenting involves giving children structure, guidelines and routines, and helps children to deal with conflicts.

Parents and carers can help children this age to think and argue without extreme anger (because anger can harm). Parents can confront unfinished tasks and encourage them to complete them. Parents and carers can confront children who have become withdrawn, by asking them what they are feeling and minister to their sense of inadequacy, unworthiness and helplessness.

12 to 14 years

Healthy behaviour and development for this age range includes having a social life – this is the most

important aspect of life to them; they treasure friends more than responsibility. Healthy behaviour involves an interest in the opposite sex, attractions and interactions; unhealthy behaviour would involve sexual involvement at an age when they are too young to handle the responsibilities and consequences of it. Self motivation may be very low during this stage and thinking and feelings may become confused. Sometimes early adolescents become negative without reasoning and most go through a period of rebellion and opposition.

Some of the developmental issues in early adolescents are similar to the toddler’s, in that they have issues with anger, opposition and rebellion: they tend to say ‘NO!’ to lots of things some even become verbally abusive to parents, and test their authority. They are becoming independent. They are very self-centred and very sensitive to criticism, but they are also learning to manage their anger in a healthy way, with parental help. They are developing relationships and are testing life’s values, as they enter into adulthood. They need to learn from parents and carers time structures, how to prioritise, and how to reconcile relationships: how to ask for forgiveness, and how to give forgiveness.

They also have hormonal issues and oral issues, e.g. they enjoying eating, and some develop eating disorders or habits. They are also very talkative! They need to learn to ask, not force or demand and they need to work through the highs and lows of their moods and feelings, much of which may be due to the change in hormones. They need help to explore their social involvement and relationships; sometimes they feel lonely and afraid of being rejected from their peer group. They need help handling their finances and handling their priorities. Parents could give them some money and help them to learn how to manage their money well, e.g. they can buy their own clothes, and presents etc.

Parents and carers need to give them life-giving affirmations, such as these:

It’s good to ask for what you need. You are accepted for who you are. You can be your own person. You can take responsibility for your own choices, your own feelings, and your own time. It is OK to test your values and beliefs, through discussions. You can solve problems on your own.

Unhealthy parenting and nurturing would include hypocrisy – we need to live what we say and believe. Parents need to keep affirming adolescents and they still need our attention, otherwise they can withdraw. Adolescents still need boundaries and guidelines, and this need to be enforced in the right way, which needs to be balanced between correction and nurturing. Healthy parenting would involve confronting adolescents when they push boundaries and guidelines, by reasoning with them, and working things out... with love and affection, and with consistency. Parents still need to help adolescents identify their thinking and feelings and they need to be aware of changes in their children’s lives and relationships. Parents and carers need to make them aware sexually, with honest answers. Parents need to encourage their children, listen to them, and help them solve problems and take responsibility and teach them how to express their anger in the right way. Parents and carers need to adolescents to overcome fear and continue to offer unconditional love, and affirming the Word of God in their lives.

15 to 18 years

Healthy behaviour for someone in later adolescence involves attentiveness to parents of the opposite sex (they become a role model), lots of interest in the opposite sex, and independence. Adolescents will be dealing with issues of sex role identification, and separation. They may struggle with feelings of fear, anger, inferiority, unworthiness and feel unattractive.

Independence is key in this age group, and it is a process of adjusting, refining skills, and finalising childhood towards adulthood. Life goals need to be established and they need to know their sex role identity. Appearance is very important and the need to establish occupational skills and educational skills and help them to grow towards these goals. If we as parents and carers don’t teach them the right way, the world will teach them, and it may be the wrong way. As a parent, we are the child’s spiritual guardian and pastor. We need to spend time helping them in development, or someone else will.

We need to give them Life-giving affirmations, such as these:

“I look forward to knowing you as an adult. You can know who you are. You can learn and practice new skills for independence. You can grow in your gender. You can still be dependent to times. You can ask for my support and I will always love you. You can develop independently.”

Unhealthy parenting would involve making important decisions for the young person, such as, who they will marry, without their knowledge, consent or co-operation. Unhealthy parenting would be having an unhealthy marriage or failing relationship. Healthy parenting will watch over them concerning drinking, drugs and unhealthy relationships. Healthy parenting involves learning from your children, asking forgiveness when needed and offering forgiveness. It involves giving them what they need, not what they want, supporting them their thinking and feelings, helping them to take responsibility for their own actions and helping them to be independent. Parents and carers need to model behaviours, and not over-react to problems.

Dysfunctional Families

We need to know and understand that dysfunctional parents and families produce dysfunctional

children, whose lives, present and future, are influenced and greatly affected by their family. Dysfunctional families are families that do not operate, work or live together cohesively, in harmony or in honesty. Arguments and domestic violence is dysfunctional and affects children's mental and emotional health. Families may be dysfunctional because they are divorced or separated and there is disharmony in the family. 

Families can become dysfunctional if there has been a death of one or both of the parents and the child is not cared for and loved by another adult. Families can become dysfunctional if there is alcohol abuse or drug abuse in the family, or because their lifestyle has corroded or become corrupt and dishonest, including corruption, lying, stealing, law-breaking, immoral lifestyle, occult and witchcraft practice, abuse or whatever the family has become embroiled in, causes dysfunction and brokenness in children and youth, following them into adulthood. This happens in Christian families and in minister’s families too. Dysfunctional families and parents produce poor role models for their children’s lives and also produce hurt, damage and confusion within them.

Dysfunctional families need our prayer and intervention, when asked for. We need to love each member as they are, and teach and model how families work. We can teach mothers how to be good mothers and how to correctly discipline and bring up their children. We can teach fathers how to be good fathers, and children how to respect their parents and live a life that is Godly and wise.

Ministers in particular, need to learn to put their families before church or ministry. God needs to be first in the minister’s life, then his wife and family, then church or ministry, then going to the nations..... So often this is the wrong way around in a minister’s life, and it greatly affects both the marriage and the children. The children become dysfunctional because the father, the head of the home, is not present to be the nurturing husband and father he needs to be in the family household, and in the lives of the children who need him so much.

Children become what their parents make them: they become the person they are nurtured to be, unless there is timely intervention. Children have a special place in the Kingdom of God, and we need to teach them this. We need to live by what we say and be blameless. Parents need to be in agreement and be setting good examples and correcting children and young people in the right way.

The family is meant to be a place of refuge and security and a source of blessing to others. The father and mother in a family are the spiritual pastors, bringing their children into contact with the gospel, and our role is to educate our children, not just on Sundays, but everyday, through our lives: they will learn by what they see us do, not by what we say. Children learn what they live.

We need to present holiness in our families and display the character of Jesus. We need to disciple our children – teach them the Word of God as Paul challenged us, and we need to manage our family well, first. The family is a place of relationships, of nurturing, of teaching, of refuge and security. We need to listen more and talk less. We need to deal with conflicts in a biblical way, and be ready to forgive and not remind others of what they have done. Unforgiveness and bitterness brings brokenness and divorce, and there are no winners in divorce. Our family is our first church and ministry. The Godly family that is functioning well is a great messenger of the good news in this world: it is an evangelism agent and a healing agent. Our ministry will be determined by how strong our marriage and family is. Let’s turn or dysfunction into Godly, functional families that honour him with our lives.

For School / Church:

1.  Discuss conception and abortion. How can we support mothers who are thinking of having an abortion, and those who have already had an abortion, and are suffering the consequences?

2.  Discuss healthy and unhealthy parenting in the adolescent age group, and at least one other age group.

3.  Discuss dysfunctional families and how we can minister to them.

For Journal (homework):

1.  How can we nurture children? What are their basic needs?

2.  What factors can affect a child’s development?

3.  Write down in your Journal the issues of children at each stage of their development, and the positive affirmations we need to give to children during each stage.

4.  Write down a definition of dysfunctional families.



What is health? Health can be defined in different ways: from a medical viewpoint, health is defined in terms of the body’s natural defence mechanism; genetic or inherited conditions, individual levels of exercise, diet and general healthy lifestyles. From a social model, health is defined within the context of the wider natural, social, economic and political environment and includes issues such as housing, social class, affluence and poverty. The holistic model of health looks at the individual person as a whole, and is concerned with a person’s mind, body and soul. The World Health Organisation also takes a holistic view and defines health as being: ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.’ (Green, Early Years, p402)

In this chapter we will be looking at the causes of illness in children, how illness spreads, children with a suppressed immunity system, preventing illness, the diet and lifestyle of children, and the effects of illness on children. Included in Appendix 4 is information about HIV and AIDS.

Causes of Illness

The human body is programmed to heal itself and to fight off illnesses and infections, but this is

greatly affected by our environment and our nutrition; what we put into our bodies and what we expose our bodies too. The causes of illness are varied and can be roughly divided into five groups:

  • Bacteria – these are tough cells with rapidly multiply and thrive in the body’s warm and moist conditions. Bacteria is treatable with antibiotics, e.g. for ear or eye infections.
  • Viruses – these are parasites that invade other cells and reproduce themselves. They range from being harmless, like the common cold, flue, or chickenpox, but they can also become serious.
  • Fungi – is relatively harmless, but can cause much irritation and discomfort, such as athlete’s foot. Fungi is spread by contact with fungi spores.
  • Parasites – organisms that are spread by cross-infection, such as scabies, head lice and threadworm, but can be difficult to control or eradicate once in a classroom, school or family.
  • Protozoa – single cell organisms that cause illnesses such as severe stomach upsets, toxoplasmosis and amoebas (causing diarrhoea).

If a child is ill, they will show some signs, e.g. a raised temperature, headache, sore throat, rashes or spots on the skin, diarrhoea or vomiting, lethargy or sleeping, possibly crying and irritability. Rashes and spots on dark skin will be more difficult to see.

How Illnesses spreads

Pathogens (germs) are organisms that causes illness and diseases, which can enter the body by ingestion, (taken through the mouth), inhalation (breathed in though the mouth or nose) or inoculation (taken in through a break in the surface of the skin). These can be spread by direct contact, e.g. germs are transmitted by touch, for example broken skin contacts, kissing and sexual activity. They can be transmitted by indirect contact also, e.g. germs left on surfaces that other come into contact with, and droplet infection; droplets are released into the atmosphere e.g. air-borne germs spread through sneezing and coughing. The spread of pathogens may be prevented or limited, by controlled physical contact and by good hygiene practice.

Children with suppressed immunity

Children with certain illnesses such as leukaemia, HIV and AIDS will most likely have suppressed immunity systems, and will not be able to fight off infections and pathogens easily. These children should not be given live vaccines (a live vaccine is a weakened version of the condition itself) but can be given artificial vaccines and antibiotics. It should be noted that children who are HIV positive may not develop AIDS.

Communities need to be aware that HIV and AIDS do not spread by touch or kissing etc, but rather by sexual contact or direct contact with infected blood. Often children are born with HIV, passed down through the placenta of the mother, or through breast feeding. This does not mean a child cannot receive medical or nursing treatment; it is just means that more precautions are taken to prevent this happening, including the use of protective clothes such as medical gloves and aprons. There are some drugs and treatment available that will help to control the virus and maintain the child’s health. Please see Appendix C for more details.

Preventing Illnesses

Some children’s illnesses can be prevented by the action we take; for instance, we can take a range of approaches such as environmental, public health, dietary or educational.

Environmental approaches include controlling and eradicating various pollutions from our environment, such as pollution from cars, pollution from occupational health hazards, pollution from fumes, pollution from CFC gases in aerosols, radon levels, improvements to water and sanitation, and research into the effect of living near to nuclear power plants. In poorer countries, poor housing or shelter, unclean water, household waste, poor hygiene and food preparation, and poor or no sanitation will affect children’s health. As well as local governments being responsible for these problems, individuals can help to monitor the problems, and report hazards in the environment, and maintaining satisfactory standards of hygiene in their personal environments.

Public health approaches include concerns about sanitation and nutrition, as well as eradication of disease and control of infection. Public health approaches can include a variety of services and educational approaches such as, provision of community clinics, nursing, medication, and immunisation, providing contraception and advice, dieticians, food standards agencies (food preparation and hygiene), environmental health departments, and departments of health and control of diseases.

Educational approaches help individuals to make informed choices about their health, and this can be achieved through a variety of sources, e.g. schools, health clinics, voluntary aid etc. They can advise about sex education, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, hygiene, a variety of other diseases and illnesses, diet and nutrition, sanitation, food preparation and hygiene etc. The educational approach can include: identifying the need, the audience, the resources, setting priorities, actions and costs, implement and evaluating the plan. The educational approach needs to have relevant information that is appealing and interesting, non-judgmental or patronising and presented in the right language and context.

Substance Abuse during Pregnancy

If an adult smokes during pregnancy or in the presence of children, they inhale the smoke and they become passive smokers, which can affect the tubes and lungs of a child, affecting their ability to breath. This can result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, respiratory infections, asthma, heart diseases and defects and in some cases, lung cancer. In the interest of children’s health, parents should NOT smoke in the presence of children or during pregnancy.

If a mother drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, this can also cause much damage to the the child, e.g. small baby with low weight and physical development, and in some cases, children are born with a learning disability. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause the baby to develop Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Spectrum Disorders. This causes abnormal facial features, grow deficiencies, problems with the central nervous systems. Some may be born with learning disabilities, attention span disorders, or physical disabilities including vision and hearing problems.

A mother who takes illegal drugs during pregnancy can also cause much damage to the baby they are carrying, e.g. some may be born addicted to the drugs the mother took and have developmental problems. Consequences of drug taking during pregnancy can be heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, birth defects, premature births or stillborn births, behaviour problems in early childhood, memory and attention span difficulties, leading to learning difficulties, a lower IQ, or possibly brain damage if cocaine is used during pregnancy.

If a mother is taking or using any of the above substances during her pregnancy, she will need to be educated about the dangers to her unborn child and will need to get medical help to stop taking and using the substances. The mother will need help, advice, guidance and support during her pregnancy and afterwards, if her child is born with any of the above mentioned difficulties. The child would need medical help and the mother would also need medical help and support after the birth.

Children's Diet and Lifestyle

A child’s diet and lifestyle has a big impact upon their health, development and growth, including; inadequate or unbalanced diet, exposure to cigarette smoke, lack of fresh air and exercise, failure to protect the child from the effects of alcohol or drug misuse, or failure to protect the child from neglect and abuse. Poor diet can lead to malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, obesity, dental decay, constipation and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Malnutrition is a lack of nutrients in the body, due to imbalanced diet, problems with digestion or absorption of good, and is usually caused by not enough food to sustain the body. Starvation is a severe form of malnutrition which can lead to lack of growth in children, weight loss and muscle wasting, fatigue, anaemia, scurvy, dehydration, heart failure, vulnerability to diseases, permanent organ damage, and child mortality.

Provision should also be made for a child to have regular exercise, as this will strengthen a child’s muscles, aid physical development, and improve a child’s heart condition and lesson stress. Parents, carers and teachers also need to protect children from the use and effects of drugs and alcohol. Not only could children be harmed by their personal use, (becoming dependent) but they can affect and alter a child’s concentration and mental health. Parents who are users of drugs and alcohol can also damage their children’s health by not being able to care for them sufficiently, in effect, neglecting their child. Likewise, parents, carers or teachers who fail to protect children from sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect are contributing to the child’s ill health, which could lead to starvation, physical injuries, emotional and mental damage. Adults can improve a child’s health by taking responsibility for their health and providing a healthy environment for them to live in.

The impact of ill health on child

Children who are ill or who have on-going medical needs are not just affected physically, but socially, emotionally and cognitively. Feeling unwell, changes in routines, going to hospitals or clinics, taking medicines regularly etc, may cause children to feel confused or scared about what is happening to them, and they will want to be in a secure environment and mostly, with their parents or carers, because they need comfort from the people they are closest too.

Children will need to be kept informed about what is happening to them in a way they can understand, and they will need their questions answered honestly, particularly children with chronic, on-going, or life-long illnesses or diseases. Ill-health may affect a child’s appetite, emotional behaviour, social interaction and cognitive skills (they may also loose time from school/education). During times of illness, children will need extra support, patience and kindness, and parents and carers may also need support and guidance when a child is ill and may also need a break from ‘caring’: a child’s illness may affect be life-long or very short, but it will have an affect on the parents or carers and the whole family may need support at during this time.

Just one more thing: when I was in Africa I became aware that children who were seriously ill, particularly if they had AIDS or some other chronic illness, were often blamed and ill-treated because of their illness; they were treated as if they had a curse on them, and they were afraid of catching the illness and being cursed them-selves. This behaviour is totally unacceptable and based in lack of understanding and knowledge. Please do not blame children for their illnesses or mistreat them or ostracise them. They are innocent, and the very last thing they need, is to be neglected and abused on top of a very serious illness they are trying to deal with. I would urge all parents, teachers, pastors, carers to understand children’s illnesses, to educate others who do not, and to support children and their families through this very difficult time in their lives.

For Classroom / church group:

1.  How can you encourage and increase good health in pregnant mothers and in children? 

2.   How can you help a mother with substance abuse during pregnancy?

3.  How you will inform others, and how you can help and minister to children or families who have HIV or AIDS?

4.  Discuss the impact of the environment, poverty, lifestyle and diet upon children’s health and development. 

     Discuss how you can prevent illness and prevent it spreading.

For Journal (homework):

1.  How can you encourage good health in mothers and children?

2.   What causes illness and how does it spread?

3.  Look at your chart of childhood illnesses again, get familiar with as many diseases as you can, and try to remember the details of the Tropical diseases if you live in Africa or India. It could save a child’s life.

Identify children you have worked with who have shown these symptoms. What did you do then, and what would you do now?

4.  Record how you will help and minister to sick children, including children with HIV/AIDS or children with chronic illnesses or who are dying.


The Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK

In the UK we have the Early Years Foundation Stage, (Pre-school) which is a basic foundation for the way all childcare workers/teachers need to operate with children from ages 0-5 years, within a variety of settings, including nurseries, day care, pre-schools, and schools. All settings are inspected by Ofsted (government inspectors) and standards must be met. Within the Early Years Foundation Stage there are THEMES & PRINCIPALS:

There are four themes and within these themes there are four principals. These MAY challenge the way you think about children or they way you have previously worked, or they way YOU were treated as a child, or the beliefs of your culture and family; they all come under the general umbrella of NURTURE, and they are all based in POSITIVE views of what children can do and achieve: A positive approach to children and childcare, especially at such a young age, is the best approach, because it ENABLES young children and it EMPOWERS them to develop.

Theme 1: A unique child – the principal is that children learn in different ways and at different rates, and ALL are areas of learning and development is important and inter-connected. We must learn to recognize the unique worth of each child, recognising each one is different, has different characteristics, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, abilities or disabilities, but all are valuable and worthy of care and nurture.

Theme 2: Positive relationships – the principal is that children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships, with parents and other key people. Children need to know they are loved, accepted, wanted, by parents or by other principal key carers in their life; this makes a world of difference to their self esteem and self confidence and their ability to progress in life. Children need to be treated with equal concern and equal fairness, showing each child individual respect.

Theme 3: Enabling environments – the principal is that the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development. The environment needs to be stimulating and safe, and one that allows exploration and investigation, allows questions, allows playful interaction in a safe environment. The emotional environment needs to be positive also – positive words of praise, positive words of guidance, positive discipline – in other words the people who work in the environment need to care for and nurture children in a positive way so that they create enabling environments. We can create possibilities so that all children can develop to their own potential.

Theme 4: Learning and development – the principle is that every child is a competent learner from birth, who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. Children learn to through their 5 senses at from birth, and continue to learn through their senses and through exploration and playful activities. Exploration, with adult guidance or boundaries is necessary for children to become competent learners.

I believe we can aim to make these themes and principals our guidelines in ALL childcare practices, in all countries as far as possible, and at ALL ages and in ALL settings. If we let these principals be the underlying theme in every aspect of our contact with children, including educational settings, we will give children a safe and secure basis to develop from.

One of the main things we are taught to do is to OBSERVE CHILDREN and REFLECT on their learning experience. We observe children (rather than TEST children at a young age) and record the children’s achievements, what they are doing, learning, enjoying, struggling with, what their interests are, and how they have progressed. We REFLECT on their experience – was it good or bad for them? What can we provide to make this experience better or more rewarding next time?

We start with observing and reflecting because this is the starting point for the child/children in your work place e.g. you may observe that a certain child has difficulty with speech and language and is unable to communicate well with other children and with their teachers or key workers – this in turn causes the child to become frustrated and then to behave badly. If you do not observe, you may come the wrong conclusion, i.e. that the child is just badly behaved – without looking more closely at the reasons, what triggers off the reaction, or what the environmental triggers are. If you observe, you may see and understand more about the child, and then begin to know and understand how to address the issues.

Observing children is also very useful for planning – planning children’s experiences, or syllabus, etc. You can also talk to children and gain their ideas about what they would like to do, and include this in your planning and activities and syllabus. For instance, if you observe that the boys like playing creatively with models and cars, and like lots of physical play e.g. with football, you may be able to incorporate this kind of learning into their daily activities and experiences or into their learning experience in the school environment; this way you can captivate and motivate children, based on their interests – this will inspire them to learn more and to be more involved in their learning. Observing children gives you keys to children’s social awareness, their fears or difficulties, their own home environment and experiences, the way children think and feel – observing is key when working with young children who are not yet able to record – but you can record what you see and hear and include this in your planning and in our evaluations.

You can observe and reflect in different ways. You can observe by sitting quietly at a distance and just watching, then recording incidents reflectively, or you can record everything you see and hear as they are happening. You can record simply by writing everything, by photographs or video, or by making and ticking a chart. You can also keep a diary or journal about/for the child, about/for your group, and for your own professional development and learning.

We also need to remember to REFLECT on what we have observed – how do you feel about it? What could be different etc? Make observation and reflection part of your everyday experience and part of your professional practice: Observation and reflection usually brings about an improvement in the child’s experience and a greater understanding and development and reflection develops awareness within yourself, of your own beliefs and practices.

Both children and adults have different learning styles, and we need to know what each child’s learning style is, so that it enables and encourages them to learn in the best way for them. If we try to teach all children or young people in the same way, we will miss the target so many times! First we need to know the children and young people we work with, and identify their learning styles, so that we are able to plan activities and lessons that will hit the mark, and make a difference in their lives.

We also need to know and understand that there can be BARRIERS to learning. Some children lack formal education or home education, and some have a big lack in their own ability to learn. Many children have low self-esteem and low personal expectations of themselves and some children have health issues. Some children have bad educational experiences (or bad teacher experiences) and some have difficult home situations, some may have many responsibilities and lack the support and care that they need; this will make it hard for them to learn.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self Actualization 5th

Self Esteem 4th

Sense of Belonging & love 3rd

Safety and Shelter 2nd

Physical Needs & comfort 1st

Maslow was a Theorist who believed that in order for us to learn and achieve, we need to have our basic needs met first. On the FIRST level, the basic level, there needs to be physical comfort.... the lighting, the space, the temperature, seating, sound levels and distractions, the resources, adequate breaks, accessibility.... all these things are important to children and young people’s learning... and needless to say, children from third world countries also need adequate food and drink, or they will not have the physical and mental strength be able to focus.

It is important that children’s physical needs are met first, before we begin the process of trying to educate them! If your school, church, children’s home or youth setting is in a Third World country, then can I suggest, where possible, that you introduce a feeding programme, perhaps combined with the help of people from the local community.... by implementing this you may also be saving lives and giving children a chance of survival, and hope for the future. They need to know that those who are educating them actually care about them.... being cared for and supported will give them a sense of belonging and the motivate them in the future.

The SECOND level of need is about safety and shelter. Children need to be and feel safe with adults, and they need to be sheltered from danger, harm and abuse. Children need to feel ‘safe’, at ease with the people who are caring for them.... including ALL staff and volunteers, if they do not feel safe, they will not be able to relax and flourish in your church, school or ministry. Children need to know they will not be physically beaten, or emotionally or mentally put-down and made to feel small. They need to know they can trust the adults not to sexually abuse them or neglect them. Abuse is serious and damages and traumatizes children so deeply that some do not recover. Children also need shelter – from extreme heat, cold, and wet, danger, from bullying, alcohol and drugs, from cults and from being made to labour hard or work long hours.... they need our protection, and it is up to us to provide that for them.

The THIRD level of need is about children knowing they belong.... it is about them knowing and feeling accepted and loved by the adults around them and by their peers. Children need to be interactive and need friendships, they need peer support and to feel and know they are not inferior to others. They need a basis for their own self-esteem.

The FOURTH level of need is about children needing self-esteem. Without self-esteem it is hard, if not impossible, for children to gain a sense of their own identity or to accomplish their goals in life. Children will gain self esteem if we provide the right basis for them... if we believe in them, and we show them we care about their needs and we attempt to meet their needs. Some children may be so damaged that it takes years of love and care to help them heal and recover. When we help children to gain self-esteem, we give them VALUE, we empower them to like themselves and believe in themselves, and that they can make a positive contribution to society, and they can achieve. They can be happy about themselves and they can share these values with others.

The FIFTH level of need is when children are self-fulfilled or self-actualisation; they gain a level of respect for themselves and others, a level of self-dignity. They are optimistic, and have positive attitudes about themselves and about life. They feel a sense of achieving... they know their strengths and weaknesses and they are able to realise and achieve their goals in life – it also goes beyond this also level to knowing that they can feel and be self-fulfilled in loving and serving others.

We need to bare these things in mind when we plan lessons or activities for our children, so that we can make the necessary adjustments. Baring these factors in mind, and that children (like adults) learn in different ways, we can plan to make education and activities relevant and observing, and fun for our children.

Theories of Learning

Cognitive (or intellectual) development is the ability for us to think, reason, plan, develop concepts, be creative, use ideas, and problem solve, and use and growth of memory. Some educational theorists believe we are born with these abilities, and some believe they come about by the right sort of nurturing – otherwise known as the nature/nurture debate. Nativists support the idea that humans have innate abilities already deposited in them that cause them to be intelligent and develop in certain ways, whilst empiricists believe that we are moulded by experience, and intelligence is nurtured in a child.
Most modern-day educational theorists take a combined approach, accepting that we are each born with some genetic influences and this is enhanced by nurture and stimulation.


Piaget was a theorist who believed that a child’s way of thinking changes in stages and as they get older, and that they pass through 4 different stages of cognitive development, in the same order, although the ages at which they enter and leave these stages may vary. The four stages are:

1. Sensory motor stage, 0-2 years

2. Pre-operational stage: 2- 7 years, 

3.  Pre-conceptual stage, 2-4 years, 

4.  Intuitive stage, 4-7 yrs

5.  Concrete operations stage: 7-11 years

6.  Formal operations stage: 11 years upwards

Piaget believed that children develop knowledge through concepts by using and building on previous experiences. He believed children gradually adapt these concepts (which he called schemas) to establish new knowledge and understanding. Children then accommodate new information by integrating it with the old, and changing and adapting their previous understanding. They will continue to use and learn new schemas. Disequilibrium happens when a child is unable to make sense of new information and unable assimilate it; they are therefore in an unbalanced stage, which called, Disequilibrium. 

As a child accommodates new concepts, they reach a place of equilibrium where they are stable in their thinking and are able to understand new information. Piaget also believed that children under the age of six would not be able to conserve, i.e. understand changes in quantity, size and number, and he used a variety of tests to explore this, however this theory has been challenged by other theorist who found that some pre-operational children were able to conserve when the information/test was presented in a different way.

Piaget was also well known for his theory on discovery learning. He believed that children learn best by being given opportunities to be active learners. He believed that if children given a variety of materials, objects and situations from their everyday life, they will discover and learn through their play.


Vygotsky believed that children need to have access to a variety of objects, materials and situations to develop their play and learning, very much like Piaget, except that Vygotsky placed emphasis on the child’s need for adult input into their play so the child could realise their potential through play situations. He developed the concept of zone of proximal development (ZPD) by studying what a child can achieve playing alone and what they can achieve when some sensitive input from an adult takes place. Vygotsky believed the adult could greatly enhance the child’s understanding through the right input.


Bruner believed that children liked to discover things for themselves, and that children learn through the use of materials that are freely available to them. His theory was that there are three modes of thinking that children use internally to represent the world to themselves as their thinking develops.

Bruner emphasized the importance of first-hand experiences and believed that the simplest thinking involves manipulating materials and aspects of the environment, which he referred to as enactive mode of thinking. It links with discovery learning, and is usually present in the 0 to 1 year old.

The next stage is iconic mode, which is where a child’s thinking involves the development of mental images, such as remembering what something or someone looks like. Iconic representation in play shows that the child is relying on and extending their memory and their play is not purely enactive. A photo, for example, will remind them of someone they have met; and a certain smell of cooking will remind them of a meal they have had. The iconic mode develops in 1 to 7 year olds.

The symbolic mode is thinking using symbols such as music and art, number and language. It enables older children to extend their thinking and be able to express themselves through a variety of media. This stage is usually from the age of 7 years, plus.

Learning Styles

As mentioned earlier, there are four basic learning styles: the activist, the reflector, the theorist and the pragmatist. These learning styles may overlap, and you may find a child (or adult) has a mixture of two or more learning styles... it is better not to get to tangled or rigid with this, but to be aware of learning styles and how you can help children learn and develop through your awareness.

The Activist

The activists is a child or person who learns by doing.... they need to be actively involved in their learning.... they need to experiment and practice the principles you teach. They engross themselves in the “here and now” and they learn from games, team tasks, and role-playing. They need excitement and they need a diversity of activities. They will “have a go” at most activities.

They learn LEAST from listening to lecturers or theories or from explanations, and least from reading or inactive watching. They do not learn well from having to analyse or work on their own in reading, writing, or thinking. Activists need stimulating action to learn – that is their learning style.

Most children I would describe as activists.... they need to hear, see, touch and do.... children learn through their five senses.... Children need to explore the world they live in through their senses: through their sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. When we want to teach principles or concepts to children, we need to make sure they have the opportunity to use more than one of their senses in the process... they will remember the concepts through their senses. How many of us remember verses of scripture, or stories from the Bible because we sung them and acted out the stories? I remember so many verses of scripture through singing them as a child, and so many stories through acting them or seeing them being acted. We can incorporate times of experience and practice in children’s learning, times of looking and listening, times of activity and times for creativity. It is all part of the learning process... and this is what we need to incorporate in children’s learning.... keep them active and alert, keep in short, keep it lively and interesting, keep it relevant and at their level of understanding, keep it fun !

The Reflector

Reflective learners are those who like watch, think and reflect on what they see and hear, read or do. They like to stand back from events and listen and observe, and they like to think before acting. They need time to carry out research or investigation and to assemble information, and they like to exchange views with others.They learn LEAST from being forced into the limelight, e.g. taking a lead in role-play or in discussions, or when they are thrown in the deep end, without preparation. They worry about time pressures and don’t do well if rushed into the next activity.

There is a stage when children are very young, when they appear to be reflectors – they stand back and watch others, before they take the risk of joining in. They like to see how things work and how relationships work, before they are ready to ‘have-a-go’. This is a normal part of the development process, and children should not be forced into taking part in activities they are not yet ready to do, e.g. action games, or role-play etc, where they may feel really uncomfortable. In time, after watching and reflecting, and with the right encouragement or coaching, they will feel more comfortable to become actively involved in play and learning activities. As children become young people, it is also good for them to reflect on life, to reflect on their experiences and reflect on their education and all the things they have been taught. Many lessons can be learned through reflective thinking. Reflective thinking can help us to see situations, how they developed, to see our own reactions to them, but also to think about how we can improve things in the future. Reflective learning can start early but continue on into adulthood, and can be a valid learning style.

The Theorists

A Theorists learner likes to know and understand different elements and connections of a theory or concept. They like to have time to explore methodically the associations and inter-relationships between ideas, events and situations.

Theorists learn BEST by listening and reading, research, taking part in question and answers sessions, and debates. They learn LEAST when emotions or feelings are involved, when they are asked to act or decide on something without a solid basis, or when they are not given time or space to methodically cover the theory or concepts in more depth. They may not respond well to games, role-play or practical activities, because this is not their learning style.

There is a stage of development that young children go through, when they are always asking questions about why things are the way they are, or how things work etc. They like to know and understand, to the best of their ability, and they like to investigate and try things out for themselves. It is good to encourage this, rather than to tell them to be quite, or just accept what you say. An inquisitive mind is a growing mind. Wouldn’t you rather children question things and not just accept our statements? Then you know they have a growing intelligence, and you know that they will be able to analyse things and sort things out in their own mind. A child or young person who continues to learn this way, and who likes to analyse theory is a deep and intelligent thinker - these May young people be our future doctors, scientists, educators etc. Encourage children and young people to think and analyse, encourage them to analyse and sort out logical problems for themselves; but also encourage them to experiment and test out their theories where possible, so there is a solid basis and understanding for their learning.

The Pragmatists

The Pragmatic learner is a practical, hands-on learner. He or she likes to be SHOWN techniques, not just taught them, and they need to be able to practice techniques. Coaching is the best way to teach a Pragmatic learner. They need things (theories, concepts) to be modelled or demonstrated, they need to be given opportunities to practice, and they need to be coached into improving their techniques. They like to concentrate on practical issues, e.g. action plans with end products, and given ideas and tips of how to achieve their aims.

The Pragmatic learner does not learn well when the lesson or concept is not about an immediate need that they can see or be involved in themselves. They do not like ‘chalk and talk’ and do not learn well from it. They will not learn well if there are no clear guidelines on how to do things or there are too many practical issues or obstacles for them to overcome. The Pragmatic learner likes to see immediate rewards for their effort and work, where this is possible.

Most children are Pragmatic or Activist or a mixture of both, and learn by doing, by being actively involved in their learning, and by being creative and expressive, especially young children. They learn by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and DOING.

There is a wise saying that goes like this:

I hear, and I forget
I see, and I remember
I do, and I understand 

Young children need to DO and be active. If we provide the right way of learning for them, they will learn and not forget.


Just a note about Resources: we also need to be aware that we need to use a variety of resources to aid learning, which does NOT need to be expensive or difficult to provide – just well-thought out. We need resources that will aid visual learners, like chalk-boards or white-boards, Flipcharts, Felt-boards, Charts, handouts, books, Overhead projectors etc, and we also need resources that children can touch, feel, and experiment with. We need resources that children can hear or listen too... this may be through videos or TV or the teacher, or through songs and rhymes. We need games or creative activities that keep children alert and active in their learning. We need to carefully plan and match HOW we present things and HOW we teach, not just the content of the teaching.

So how should we minister and teach our children in our churches and schools?

We need to TEACH children about the Kingdom of God through songs and stories, crafts, puppets, games – make learning about God GOOD, make it fun, relaxing and enjoyable – give examples, e.g. story of lost sheep – went around church looking for paper sheep – did a story using puppets... Children’s songs and actions teach children about God’s goodness and love. This can be done through school, church, clubs, youth groups etc – You need to USE THE RIGHT TOOLS – if children and young people are relaxed and happy, having fun, they are more likely to REMEMBER IT and to LEARN, and more likely to be building up POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS with you. Some of these children do NOT have positive relationships with any adult – you can be the one!

We need to teach children that they ARE God’s children, they are special, treasured, wanted, loved, and that they can go to their heavenly Father in prayer and ASK him for their needs. Teach them that GOD is a GOOD FATHER – this maybe something they have not experienced – but our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS GOOD, and will never harm them. And lastly, we need to teach by demonstration – be a GOOD ROLE MODEL. Teach them to love by your love for them – teach them to be gentle and kind by you being gentle and kind – they will learn FAR MORE by WHAT YOU DO, THAN WHAT YOU SAY.

For the Ministry School/Church Group:

1. In groups, DISCUSS the 5 levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, e.g.
1st – shelter
2nd - safety
3rd – belonging
4th – self esteem
5th – self actualization

Discuss what these mean, and how your church fellowship/school etc can help to meet these needs in children.

2. DISCUSS the 4 learning styles (Activists, Reflector, Theorists, Pragmatists) and how you can make adaptions to your current approach and style in teaching children.

For your Journals (homework):

1. Look at the 4 Principles of Children’s development and learning, eg

(a)  that children learn in different ways and at different rates

(b)  that children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships, 

       with parents and other key people.

(c)  the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development, and

(d)  that every child is a competent learner from birth, who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.

Think about, and record how you can utilize these principles in your church or school setting.

2. What have you learned from this chapter/lesson, and how will you adapt your approach to teaching children?


In order to NURTURE and discipline children we need them to understand what acceptable behaviour is, and understand the boundaries and consequences, and do this within a POSITIVE FRAMEWORK and MANNER. We need to parent our children positively and we need to bring discipline in a positive way that helps and nurtures the child, rather than brings deep hurt and resentment. As childcare workers and teachers we may need to put aside some of our pre-conceived ideas, and our own experiences concerning handling children’s behaviour. We may have had the experience of being constantly shouted out, embarrassed, humiliated, excluded, ignored or hit and beaten as a child – but this is NOT the way to handle children – it is very damaging and can also be abusive – this is NOT the way YOU should handle them, and you should NOT pass this onto the children you work with – there are better ways – positive ways of managing and handling children’s behaviour, which I will share with you. 

The ‘social learning theory’ states that everyone, consciously or unconsciously, continually shapes and changes each other’s behaviour e.g. how parents, or teachers, behave and respond to a child’s behaviour will impact on that child and ‘shape’ or ‘change’ that behaviour. This theory is scientific and applied universally, regardless of race, culture or gender - YOU can and DO shape and change the behaviour of children you work with.

Children need to know they are loved and accepted, but sometimes it is their BEHAVIOUR that is unacceptable – NOT THEM. We should not criminalize and belittle children or young people, and knock their self-image and self-esteem if they have made a mistake or behaved in an unacceptable way – when we do this, we damage our children, and damaged children are hard to repair – many people carry the damage others have done to them as children, into the rest of their lives – they believe the condemnation spoken over them such as “you are bad” or “you are no good” and are unable to overcome this, unless they receive counselling or healing.

We also need to understand that different families and cultures have different values and different standards for behaviour, and they will bring these with them when they come to us – so we need to tell them what we expect, because it MAY BE DIFFERENT to what they know. So in our pre-schools or children’s homes, churches or schools, we need to have some basic ground rules that is practical and ‘do-able’, i.e. not impossible for children to keep.

Ground  Rules

Rules & expectations need to be simple and few, easy to follow, and enforceable: e.g.

  • Anything that is DANGEROUS or HARMFUL or OFFENSIVE to others or themselves
  • Anything that is UNWELCOMING or DISRESPECTFUL to others
  • Any PURPOSEFUL DAMAGE to your property or other people’s property

(according to age and development of child)

We need to explain to children WHAT the rules are (in fact, you could make them together, between adults and children, then they will be deemed as fair*) and explain WHY you have them, and what they mean, and the consequences of NOT doing them (covering later). We need to set SIMILAR EXPECTATIONS of behaviour for both boys and girls, and we need to be REASONABLE about EXPECTATIONS of children’s individual behaviour, making allowances or taking into consideration their age, experiences & family background, needs, health, and their development over all, and present them in a positive manner.


Consequences should NOT INCLUDE physical punishments like beatings, with-holding of food or water, total or prolonged isolation, or anything that will FRIGHTEN or DAMAGE the child: These will not correct behaviour, it will only cause damage. If you suspect a child is being beaten, neglected or abused in ANY FORM from teachers, parents or other workers, you need to follow your procedures and policies for recording and reporting this behaviour to the proper authorities, and be prepared to support the child as far as possible. Consequences must be humane and for the benefit of the CHILD not the teacher or childcare worker! (I.e. to prove a point)

Remember, positive discipline is IMMEDIATE, CONSISTENT and DECISIVE, and as stated, it has positive outcomes rather than negative ones.

Logical consequences:

This involves a logical response from the adult, to the behaviour displayed, and the consequence fits the unwanted behaviour e.g. staying behind to complete a task if they refused to do so when asked, or cleaning up the mess they’ve made, or removal of an item that caused the offence etc. The consequence should only apply for a short period, e.g. between 5-30 mins, so the child has the opportunity to correct their own behaviour.

Planned Ignoring:

We can use planned ignoring for unwanted behaviour, for attention seeking behaviours, whining, pulling faces, silly noises, silly behaviours etc, and it is very effective, but it needs to be applied with consistency and calmness. We need to STAY COOL, keep our body and voice tone relaxed, and give no eye contact. We need to keep the ignoring up, until child stops – if child’s behaviour becomes aggressive or destructive, this needs a different consequence, e.g. time out

Directed Discussion and Correction:

We need to use directed discussion in Use in a CALM MANNER, when a child breaks the ground rules, perhaps unintentionally or occasionally.

Firstly, we need to gain the child’s attention, then we need to briefly explain why their behaviour is a problem, then we ask the child what the correct behaviour is? If they cannot tell you, describe the correct behaviour to them, and lastly, we need to get the child to carry out/practice the correct behaviour e.g. if they were running in the classroom, get the children to walk around the classroom. Teach the children to replace the behaviour you DON’T want with the behaviour to DO want. Afterwards we need to praise the child for the correct behaviour – help them to enjoy carrying out the correct or good behaviour, rather than the unwanted behaviour, then the ‘good’ will replace the ‘not good’.

Quiet Time & Time Out:

Quiet time and Time Out is a positive strategy that can be used instead of SHOUTING, THREATENING, SMACKING or HURTING children. When used correctly it is extremely effective and helps children learn self-control and acceptable behaviour. This strategy can be used when a child refuses to do as you have asked. The idea is that you remove attention from the child so there is no ‘pay-off’ for the unwanted behaviour. The child also learns to deal with his own frustration and settle themselves down.

Firstly we need to find a space in the classroom/home or just outside it, where the child can be alone and not disturbed. Secondly, when you take the child to quite time or time out, explain why you are putting them there. Thirdly, we tell them they are to stay there for 2-5 mins (depending on age) and sit quietly. They cannot come out of quite time, unless they sit quietly for stated time.

Lastly, when the time is over, we can ask them to come out – then encourage them to find something positive to do. We also need to watch them, and if they start to engage in something positive and behave well, praise them to encourage the behaviour you want from them.

The basic thing to remember is that we are not to harm the child physically, mentally or emotionally, and if we employ these positive methods of discipline, they do NOT harm the child, secondly, they teach the child how to behave appropriately – isn’t that more positive and helpful than shouting, smacking or damaging children - then having to repair the damage?

Creating a Positive Environment

So to promote good behaviour, we need to create a positive learning environment, and we can do this by:

  • Gaining the child’s attention first, e.g. use their name, and ALWAYS give CLEAR, CALM,
  • INSTRUCTIONS – in a logical manner – if children are very young or have special needs – ONE instruction at a time. If they are doing something they should not be doing, tell them to stop what they are doing, and tell them what you WANT them to do instead – make it clear so they can follow your instruction and comply. Give them time to comply.
  • Show approval when children behave well and praise children when they are doing what you asked (in schools you may want to use a sticker/star chart).
  • In general, if you give children approval, time and attention when they are doing good things, they will want to repeat it to please you, and to gain more approval – this will promote positive behaviour in children.
  • Set a good example – if you are kind and gentle & patient, they will learn to model your behaviour – if you shout and hit, they will learn to do the same.
  • Tune into children’s needs, take TIME to LISTEN and TALK with children, and PLAY with children, and show CARE and AFFECTION. Provide ENGAGING ACTIVITIES e.g. games, so that children are not bored, therefore misbehave.
  • Teach new skills and behaviour – by using positive behaviour strategies and taking time to MODEL skills and behaviour you want them to emulate. You can teach new skills by: setting a good example and incidental teaching. Incidental teaching is an opportunity for the adult to teach, or build on the child’s knowledge and skills when they come to you to show you something, to ask you something, or tell you something. You can extend the child’s language skills and general knowledge and understanding, help them learn to solve problems, and increase their independence and concentration on a task – this could also include how to behave in a socially acceptable manner, and teaching children how to replace unwanted behaviour with wanted behaviour.


As childcare workers and teachers we need to increase our knowledge and skills in nurturing children, teaching children and handling children, in a positive manner, so that we do them no, harm, only good – and our work with children needs to come from a place of passion for children and their welfare – this may mean then that we have to change some of our views and our practices in order to make a positive influence on the lives of the children we care for. Let’s create positive, caring/nurturing environments for children we work with, so they grow up knowing they have value and worth, and so they grow up into healthy, whole adults.

For the Ministry School/Church Group:

1. In small groups, DISCUSS: what kind of expectations and ground rules should you set for

children’s behaviour? Make a short list of ground rules and why you have set them. 

2. Discuss some of the positive ways you can handle children’s misbehaviour, e.g. logical

consequences, planned ignoring, directed discussion and correction, quiet time/time out.

For your Journals (homework):

1.  Record any negative handling of your own misbehaviour as a child, and how this has affected you, and how negative handling can affect children you work with.

2.  Record your personal views of handling children’s misbehaviour, including physical punishment, and what changes you can make to the way you currently practice.

Record how you can create a positive environment for children.


Three or four children (in UK) die each week as the result of abuse and neglect. Children are more likely to be abused by people they know, or by members of their own family, than by strangers. Children of ALL ages, from tiny babies to teenagers, are abused. Child abuse happens in ALL social classes and ALL cultural groupings. Abuse can have long-lasting traumatic effects which may damage children’s development – physical and emotional. In this chapter we will explore different types of abuse and how it affects the child.


Physical abuse is where an adult deliberately hurts or injures a child, involving: hitting or beating, shaking, squeezing, burning or scolding, biting, giving poisons, drugs they don’t need, alcohol, ritualized witchcraft, or treating children as though they are witches, and trying to remove it by physical force.

Physical abuse can leave bruising, burns, fractures, internal injuries, brain damage/learning difficulties, or death. The emotional and mental damage is much WORSE! E.g. feelings of rejection and worthlessness.


Sexual abuse includes inducing or seducing a child through bribes, threats, physical force, or any form of sexual activity, including: pornographic pictures and videos, internet abuse, exhibitionism, fondling, masturbation, oral sex or intercourse, or forced prostitution.

Sexual abuse produces confusion of identity, e.g. the child will ask themselves, “What am I here for?” They will experience feeling of isolation, and confusion of sexuality. Some will reject their own body, even hating it, and feel that there is something wrong with their body. Girls may not like showing their femaninity because they don’t want to attract man. Abused children will also experience confusion of feelings e.g. Pleasure and disgust at same time during the sexual acts. They may also block off memories or they may fantasize and be in denial because they can’t cope with the real world, so they create an artificial world that is safe.

Sexual abuse will affect a child’s development and growth (physically, mentally and spiritually). Girls may not want to grow breast – or they become overweight to look unattractive so their bodies will not be used for sexual purposes. Abused children may feel lonely, independent, or become involved in abusive relationships themselves. Abused children are prone to regression and rebellion.

Sexual abuse will affect a child emotionally and spiritually. They may experience spiritual, out of body experiences. Their trust is fractured. They may experience rebellion and rejection of themselves, and keep people out. They will feel a deep anger at abuser(s) and men in general. They may feel a lot of guilt and fear. They will experience an inability to respond to real love and it will trigger emotions they can’t handle. Often abused children feel they want to die – their spirit is damaged, crushed, and wounded.


Emotional abuse is failing to show love or affection to a child, and includes: severe and persistent rejection, racism, discrimination, criticism, and bullying, ridiculing, belittling, frightening, and threatening behaviour.

Sometimes children (and adults) are unfairly discriminated against, because they do not ‘fit’ – they are different. Discrimination is when a person is unfairly treated, and people are bias and intolerant, isolating others, simply because they are different. Discrimination is very damaging to children and adults – it damages their self-esteem and confidence and self-image because they feel ‘rejected’ and unacceptable.

Bullying (adult OR child) is the persistent, wilful and conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten another. Bullying is also emotional abuse. Family members can bully one another, as well as school children who are peers. Adults often bully one another. If a child sees adults bullying others, then they may be copying the model they have displayed for them. The bully does not have to be a present for the victim to feel fear or threat. Bulling is a learned behaviour and, as such, can be unlearned.

Bullying is about power over another person in a negative and harmful way. It’s about aggression and deliberate, persistent attempts to cause pain and distress. The bully gains satisfaction from being able to manipulate and intimidate others.

People may bully others because: they have family problems, they are being bullied themselves, they want to get their own way, they feel lonely, they feel bad about themselves, insecure etc, and they want to look ‘big’ in front of others. Bullying is again, very harmful to a child. It wounds them deeply and many children and young people have committed suicide because their lives have been made miserable by bullying peers or family members. Bullying is serious and we must protect our children from it.

Intervention for bullying

To PREVENT bullying, we can encourage positive behaviour in ALL children, and promote respect for each other. We can build on children’s trust and self-esteem.

If you think a child is being bullied you can: ask the child directly, don’t ignore the situation; talk with parents and colleagues and keep a record of concerns; help children to practice strategies such as shouting ‘no’ and walking away with confidence; help to build children’s self-esteem and emotional strength.

We need to have a written policy about bullying including actions steps to take to prevent it, and to help those concerned. Work with both the child who IS bullying – he/she has issues that they need help with, and with the child who has been bullied – help them develop strategies.

Ministry and Prayer over bullying

We can offer to PRAY with the children - both the offended one, and the offender separately, if they are agreeable. We can pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon them and heal their pain and distress. We also need to remind them that they need to release forgiveness to their offenders – this releases them, whereas bitterness binds. The one who has been bullying is also hurting and may be bullied themselves by others (Matt 6:14-15) we can also teach the offenders (the ones who have bullied) to love others – teach them a better way of living; this then will replace the old way of behaving, with a new way.

At a later stage, we may be able to bring the offender and the offended child together in reconciliation. We can talk to both parties about offering forgiveness to one another, we can then pray for them both to be reconciled and at peace with each other.

Preventing Discrimination

We must make sure we are GOOD ROLE MODELS and do not allow any of our children (or adults) to experience DISCRIMINATION against others – including words and actions, not just from other children, but adults. You can teach children how to be tolerant of others, and how discrimination affects people – read them the story of the Good Samaritan – it was the ‘outsider’ who came to the man’s rescue - get children to role-play the story. Get children talking about how it FEELS to be an ‘outsider’ – then ask them to problem solve – how can they INCLUDE others so they never have to feel this way.

We need to think about HOW we would challenge comments and behaviour so they DO NOT RE-OCCUR; we can shape and change this type of behaviour. Again, you will need a policy, so that discrimination is something you always know how to handle.

Emotional abuse causes a child to be nervous, withdrawn, to regress, to lack self-esteem and confidence, or to become aggressive and defensive. Emotional abuse causes the child to have an orphan spirit and spirit of rejection and death, and many want to die because they cannot stand the emotional pain. The child may desperately want to be loved and accepted, but does not know how to receive it, because they are so broken. Emotional abuse is coupled with sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect, but emotional abuse can also stand alone. Emotional abuse is the deepest and hardest part of a child’s life to heal, so we need to be alert and do all we can to protect children from emotional abuse.


Wilful Neglect is abuse and is failure to meet a child’s basic needs (especially when they are able to) so that the child’s HEALTH and DEVELOPMENT are affected. This could include: extended exposure to heat or cold, not providing food, not ensuring basic cleanliness and hygiene, leaving the child unattended to fend for themselves, failure to seek medical attention when child is ill.

Some children who have been abused, become abusers themselves, because that is the model they have had, and know no different. Neglect will leave a child feeing they are worthless and find it difficult to trust adults, and to form happy/stable relationships. They also have broken spirits, and a sense of rejection, with no self esteem or self worth. Children can starve from neglect, and become seriously ill and die from neglect.


Spiritual abuse takes place when those in authority in the church/school misuse their authority to control others. They use their position and authority to gain prestige, but they do this by force and tyranny OR they do this subtly, by mind-control. Spiritual abuse is mental and emotional abuse and it can lead to a mental breakdown, or to physical or sexual abuse.

Spiritual abuse can happen to children, youth and adults, individually or to a whole congregation. Spiritual abuse often takes place when a pastor/leader/teacher or someone in authority has unreasonable expectations or makes unreasonable demands At it's worst, they may demand obedience, respect, excessive services or sexual services, or coercion to give excessive amounts of money, or anything else that should not be expected or demanded. Spiritual abuse can take place privately, where no one sees what is happening, or it can take place publicly, e.g. by shaming people in public or by preaching and teaching fear controlled messages of condemnation, confusion and intimidation, or coercion.

Spiritual abuse involves the use of fear and intimidation, or mind control. Mind control causes an impairment of independent thinking and a disruption and corruption of your beliefs or values. Mind-control may involve subtle lies and distortions of truths, both in doctrines and in a person's self-beliefs. It causes a loss of self confidence and self esteem and often causes dependency upon the controller. Mind control subtly affects a person by making them believe that what they think and feel and believe is wrong, and what the leader says is right and must not be questioned. If they do question a leader's action or refuse to submit to them, they may be punished either physically, mentally, or emotionally – this could include rejection and ex- communicating or 'shunning,' causing people feel dirty, ashamed, guilty, unworthy, and sometimes the person or congregation being targeted, believes they will end up going to hell if they do not obey their leader.

Spiritual abuse may also be accompanied by sexual abuse, or theft or money or other deceitful acts.
If anyone suspects that spiritual abuse is taking place of a child or youth (or indeed, an adult or congregation), firstly, steps need to be taken to help the person or persons involved to be released from this control and help to recover, and secondly, steps would need to be taken to investigate the situation and the leaders involved in the abuse, with the Biblical procedure for discipline and/or removal of the leaders.

Handling Abuse

Firstly, you need to make sure you have a written policy about child abuse, that ALL STAFF know they procedures, and follow them. You also need to have regular staff awareness and training days to make staff aware and to raise concerns.

Observe and Listen - if you are concerned about a child’s behaviour and words, AND IF a child reveals to you they are being abused, you MUST take them seriously, try not to probe too much, don’t make promises you can’t keep, e.g. that you will not tell anyone, and record what they say. Go to next step.

Record - record the facts, dates, times, what you saw and heard, what you suspect, but try to be objective.

Discuss concern – head teacher, head of children’s centre etc. but NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW! This is confidential and only share on a ‘need to know basis.’

Decide on action - reporting to appropriate authorities, removal of the child from dangerous situations, into places of safety.

Helping children recover from Abuse

We need to help children to build new trusting relationships. Each child needs a key-worker; someone who they can trust, confide in, relate to, and who will take pastoral care of them. We need to teach and MODEL to the child that not all adults will harm them – but it will take time effort and energy, and we will need to be patient: it will be worth it in the end. We will need to take time to get to know the child, and show them your approval and affection (wisely).

As childcare workers and teachers, we should try not to say things that we cannot do, or to suddenly disappear from their lives – if we have to leave the setting permanently or even for a short period, we need to let the child know why we are leaving or when you will be back, so they do not feel abandoned. If you are leaving permanently, BEFORE you go, you need to introduce that child to another trusted key-worker who can build a relationship with them, and carry on the work you have been doing.

We need to be ready to listen to the child, care for them, and help them to adjust. We should not force them to share, but let them know that we are there for them IF and WHEN they want to talk about what has happened.

There may be occasions when we want to consider professional counselling for the child, but if we are truly committed to the child and will be spending your life with them, then we could offer to talk and pray with the child and another trusted adult, e.g. pastor/pastor’s wife etc, on a regular basis (but remember to go at the child’s pace – don’t force it).


To pray and minister to abused children we need to assure them that we understand they have been through a lot of pain and loss, that we understand their sorrow and pain. We need to assure them that we do not want to hurt them, and assure them that God loves them and does not want to hurt them, only to heal them and love them.

We also need to tell them that God loves them SO MUCH he wants to heal them on the INSIDE. He wants to heal the pain in their heart. We can read to them from Scriptures the story about the women with the Alabaster Box (Luke 7: 36-50) or paraphrase it – it is quite long! God healed her sin, and her pain, and her shame, and pronounced her forgiven.

We can explain to the child, that to be healed of their inner pain, although people have hurt them, and it was NOT THEIR FAULT IN ANY WAY, they need to forgive those who have hurt them. Explain from scriptures that God wants us to forgive those who have hurt us, just as He forgave those who were hurting him when he died on the cross – Luke 23:34 & Matt 6:14. We need to explain that Jesus was also innocent and that forgiveness is a choice: it’s the hardest thing to do, but the best thing we can do to bring healing to ourselves.

We need to explain to the child that they may not FEEL forgiveness for the person who has hurt them, but if they choose to forgive, they will set the person free and also SET THEMSELVES FREE. You may be able to lead the child in a short prayer of releasing forgiveness.

HOWEVER, if the child CANNOT cope with this at the time, leave it and come back to it at another stage. Sometimes forgiveness comes in STAGES.

ASK the child for permission to PRAY for them – we need their permission, because we need their co- operation. We need their co-operation, so that they co-operate with the Holy Spirit in this matter. The Holy Spirit is gentle and will never force Himself, or his healing or love upon us, no matter how much we need it; so we need to explain we want to invite the Holy Spirit to come upon them to heal their pain.

IF they agree, PRAY for the Holy Spirit to come upon them and to heal the pain and the bad memories they have. Invite the Holy Spirit to come, just say a few words, and LET THE HOLY SPIRIT DO HIS WORK – listen and watch what He is doing. This will be painful experience, so the child may cry or shout, or scream or be very quiet – this is OK, let them express their pain in their own way – just stay near them and assure them you are there for them.

We need to listen to the Holy Spirit – what is he saying or doing during this process? Does He have a special word or picture for the child? You can even ask the child also: what is God saying? What is happening? And PRAY the way the Holy Spirit is working in that child at that time.

At some stage during the process, with a word of authority, you need to bind up and send away any spirits (unclean spirits or any others) that have oppressed the child through the abuse and trauma – the child is innocent here – they did not invite these spirits, they were forced upon them through the adult – so we need to make sure they understand that we are not accusing them or blaming them, rather you HELPING to RELEASE them from their pain and TORMENT. We need to send spirits away quietly, firmly, with authority, but DO NOT FRIGHTEN THE CHILD. Once the child is released, just pray that God’s peace, rest, love, etc onto/into the child, and ask Him to surround them and love them, and comfort them.

AFTER prayer and ministry, we need to let the child rest and recover. We need to offer reassurance and love, and help to build up their self-esteem. We may need to offer further prayer and ministry when the child is ready, especially if they were not able to release forgiveness, (it comes in stages, especially with regards to trauma). Remember not to force. God is gentle, patient and kind, especially where children are concerned. He is in no rush.

If we are dealing with very young children (under 5/6 years), we can just pray over them whilst we are with them; tell them God wants to heal them, and quietly and gently pray God’s healing into their lives; quietly and gently deal with any spirits present – LOVE THE CHILD, ASSURE THEM, NEVER FRIGHTEN THEM. We need to do everything quietly, confidently, assuring them and loving them. We can also pray over them whilst they are asleep; they can hear you subconsciously, so do not frighten them – be loving and reassuring.

As adults we need to know the signs and symptoms of abuse, including bullying and discrimination, and how to handle this when we come across it. Great sensitivity is needed and wisdom, as children will be very frightened and will not be trusting of adults. If sexual abuse is an issue, then please choose the right person, of the right gender to minister to the child.

We also need to know how to minister to children to bring healing and wholeness to their hurting hearts. If we learn to apply some of these principles mentioned here, then the children we love and care for will be kept safe, and not only that, they will learn to flourish in an environment of care, protection and love.

For the Ministry School/Church Group:

1.  In small groups, DISCUSS the 4 types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. 

a.  How will you recognize the signs of an abused child, and how will you handle a situation of an abused child in your church/school or community? What action will you take?

b.  How can you help children recover from abuse?

For your Journals (homework):

1.  Study the 4 types of abuse, and get to know the signs and symptoms, so you can act quickly in a situation of abuse.

2.  How can you minister to an abused child, according to this chapter/lesson?


The BEST thing we can do for ANY CHILD, especially those who are sick or damaged, is to LOVE THEM – listen to them, spend time with them, let them know we VALUE THEM – this may take time, but eventually it will pay off – the child will grow in confidence, and we can UNDO damage by loving them and showing them we care -CONSISTENTLY.

We need to minister to children in a way that is ACCEPTABLE to the child or youth, whether it is at church, home or hospital etc. We need to sympathize with them – ask what is the problem. Disarm the child, so they do not feel threatened, frightened, overwhelmed, or scared of what you are about to do!

We need to make sure we have the child’s parent or representative with you – especially to introduce you, so the child does not feel threatened or frightened and we need to KEEP all ministry INFORMAL and LOW KEY and don’t mind the child’s interruptions. We need to KEEP ministry BRIEF, because children cannot concentrate for long periods.

We need to inform the child why we are there and ask their permission to PRAY for them (explain the process). However, BEFORE we pray for them, we can read them a story about how God has healed someone, from the gospels, preferably a child God healed, or someone with the same condition, e.g. blindness etc. You can explain that God still heals today, like he did in Bible times – this builds faith.

[*Mark 5:21-23/35-43 – dead girl; Mark 10:13-16 – blesses children; Mark 9:17-29 – welcomes children]

You can ask the child if they know Jesus as the Saviour and Friend. If they don’t know Jesus, ask the child if they WANT to know him? If so, explain a bit about how sin, or bad things we do, keeps us away from Jesus, but how he made a way for us, through the cross - lead the child in a prayer of confession and acceptance of Jesus.

After this, you can ask permission again, to pray for their healing. Explain you will gently lay/place your hands on them, (anoint with oil) and ask Jesus/Holy Spirit to come and make them better. Picture them better, happy and well. Continue to PRAY, using authority, but not in a loud or frightening way. Pray quietly but confidently. SPEAK firmly and directly to the condition (sickness) rebuking it in the name of Jesus. Rebuke the fever, and BREAK the power of any affliction. Bind or loose anything that needs it, and USE the Gifts of the Spirit, e.g. words of knowledge etc, and you can ASK the CHILD (or adult) if Jesus is saying something to them (pictures/words etc) if so, FOLLOW IT THROUGH.

Ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with FAITH and PEACE and JOY. Then thank God for healing them – encourage the child to have faith for their healing. Encourage PARENTS or representatives to continue ministering in prayer to the child – even when they are asleep. Encourage them to keep believing.

[You CAN also pray for a child who is not present with you – pray with the child’s parents or representatives – send a word of authority].


  • Ask permission to pray
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to come – wait and watch and LISTEN to what he is saying
  • Rebuke the sickness (NOT the person) DO NOT SHOUT, just use your authority in confidence –treat people with dignity and respect.
  • Share anything God is saying via scripture, word of prophecy, word of knowledge – do NOT teach, preach or counsel; bless what God is doing, and pray into the things he shows you (or shows them).
  • STOP when HS has stopped or the person has stopped receiving.


Children are often damaged by adults and circumstances, sometimes accidentally, sometimes purposefully. Children can become damaged or traumatized by MANY THINGS, e.g. divorce, or loss of a father or mother or family, rejection, accidents, illness, abuse of any nature, domestic violence, extreme poverty, the effects of war or terrorism – causing stress and anxiety in the child/adult, any of these things can damage a child, so they need restoration and healing, just like adults do. INFACT, it is extremely doubtful that any adult has got through life without experiencing some form of trauma in one form or another – so it is best not go into denial and pretend we have had perfect lives! So just as children need healing from trauma, so do adults.

Trauma affects us in many different ways – including, accidents, and loss of person. Physical trauma or loss often leaves an emotional scar, and BOTH need healing.

Rejection or abandonment, absent fathers or mothers, being orphaned, whether intentional or not, leaves children with a loss of identity, a loss of self worth and self esteem, and a great big hole in their spirits where they have never known unconditional love or pure, consistent love and affection; and this is what they crave and need more than anything else – acceptance and consistent love. Without that love and consistency, consequences can arise. Many become school failures, with poor reading and low educational skills.

Many eventually use drugs, and end up in crime or in immoral activities because they are trying to fill that hole, that gap in their hearts with things that do not satisfy or meet those deep needs within. The biggest spiritual need of our day is for intimacy; for the experience of being loved, and many will go to any lengths to experience love, or to avoid it and fill that need with something else.

Is 61:1 – God binds up the BROKEN-HEARTED. He joins together things that have been broken, shattered – meaning the whole person, heart and soul, mind. God wants to bind up the HURT, the inner brokenness. He wants to heal WHOLE PERSON, and he is the ONLY ONE who can heal that hole in the heart that is craving for love. Only His love is unselfish, always pure, consistent, faithful and unconditional. We all need His love, and His love heals the broken-hearted.


FORGIVENESS is tied up with inner healing. Forgiveness DOES NOT EXCUSE the offender, and God will handle the justice side of things, BUT it does allow God to redeem them. Forgiveness is not about forgetting, but letting go of the anger and bitterness. Forgiveness DOES NOT expect you to re-establish abusive relationships or broken trust – we need wisdom here – does God want anyone back in an abusive relationship?

When you forgive you may still feel angry because of the deep pain, or the anger may be removed from you. Forgiveness is like a journey. You may need help declaring your forgiveness, maybe repeatedly, until the forgiveness is complete. We need to consistently forgive or become bitter and estranged from God and people – let’s not grow hard on the inside. 

*HOWEVER, when we forgive those who hurt us, we release the pain inside us. It releases you from something that eats at you and destroys your joy and freedom. It releases the person, so they CAN be redeemed, and it releases God to heal you. (Demonstrations) Forgiveness releases our inner healing – otherwise we hold OURSELVES BOUND, the PERSON BOUND, and GOD BOUND – (Read Matt 18:18, Matt 6:14-15).

To forgive we need to separate the past from the present, and we need to separate the person’s behaviour from their personal worth and value. Love and forgiveness is a CHOICE and an ACTION. You can choose to love a person despite their behaviour and despite your feelings. We need to explain forgiveness to the child or youth, especially the bit about binding themselves and forgiveness being a choice NOT a feeling, so that the child is able to be free from the past.


  • Children can become damaged by generational sin – passed down through families – see Ex 20:5,  including things like abuse, occult, alcoholism, divorce.
  • Children can be damaged by learned behaviour – modelled by parents or teachers etc, e.g. shouting, manipulative or controlling behaviour

  • Any form of trauma – before birth, during or after birth, attempted abortion etc
  • Any form of abuse, including domestic violence
  • Sins of the parents – accidental or purposeful mistakes
  • Sins of the child himself – they can damage themselves
  • Sins of others – including damage through TV, computer games etc
  • Speaking death to the spirit of the child e.g. guilt, condemnation, shame etc to them
  • Rejection of the child
  • Abandoning the child, either deliberately, or through separation, divorce or death

RESULTS of Damage - children can develop:

  • Physical symptoms – what is the root? If you don’t find the root, it will not heal, or it could spread or move, e.g. elective mute child.

  • Recurring behaviour patterns – stealing >insecurity. Steeling gives the child a sense of security and acceptance from friends, e.g. giving their friend a present.  Steeling could also be a way of punishing their parents/teacher. The child could be angry. Steeling could also be an inherited weakness.

  • Self Mutilation/self harm – brought on my stress, trauma

  • Bedwetting – could be an infection, or repressed feelings or fear, nightmares

  • Bullying – causes low self-esteem. People bully to gain control. Some children have a victim spirit –they draw people who will abuse them to themselves.

  • Over dependent child – deeply insecure behaviour

  • Irrational behaviour – behaves irrationally, e.g. obsessive behaviour

  • Withdrawal – fear, insecurity, depression

  • Autism or related disorders

  • Lying – learned from others (or inherited weakness). Fear of telling the truth because of fear of punishment. Can be attention seeking.

When ministering to traumatized children, I would suggest that at least 2 people pray for the child, people that know them and LOVE THEM. CHILDREN NEED TO FEEL SAFE, LOVED AND ACCEPTED – they need to know they are safe WITH YOU. You may need to take a while to build their confidence in you, and WAIT for the right moment – they may come to you.

PRAYING for inner healing

Ask the Holy Spirit to release his healing into the hurt part(s) of their lives. Ask him to reveal his LOVE, power, grace etc to them. If there is lots of trauma through lots of different situations, I suggest you pray in small stages – otherwise it could over-whelm the child (or adult).

Ask the child (or adult) to RELEASE forgiveness (if necessary, lead them in a prayer), then ask the HOLY SPIRIT to come in, heal and release them. They will MOST PROBABLY CRY – A LOT! This is OK - TEARS are healing and releasing. They may also RELIVE the experience in their minds – let them do this – this is also a healing process. Let them know they are SAFE. (Do not share the child’s personal experiences/details, ONLY with those who NEED TO KNOW.)

You may wish to share SCRIPTURES, words of knowledge or prophecy, or encouragement as the Lord gives them to you for the child (or adult). Keep your words SHORT and SIMPLE. Finish praying when the HS appears to have stopped, and the person is now quite and still – DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS. Encourage them and love them. DO NOT COUNSEL them during the healing process – let the Holy Spirit do His work – we can, incidentally cut across what He is doing.

Ask the HOLY SPIRIT to fill them etc, give them a sense of his presence and peace etc, and hug them – check on them also, for next few days that they are OK; sometimes the Holy Spirit brings up more memories that he wants to heal, OR the process is continuing and the child is working this out in their life.

RECAP – praying for Inner Healing

What do they need prayer for?


1.  Ask Holy Spirit to Come – watch and wait, and listen – only speak what He says

2.   Ask them to release forgiveness – possibly- deal with any spiritual forces bothering the person concerned, using a word of command.

3.  Ask Holy Spirit to come in and heal the trauma – support the person – DO NOT COUNSEL, teach or preach, let the Holy Spirit do His work.  

4.  Finish when the Holy Spirit has finished or person has finished.

5.  Support the child after prayer – let them rest, reassure and comfort them. Let them talk when they need to talk, or bring up other issues they need prayer for.

For the Ministry School/Church Group:

1.  In groups, DISCUSS the best thing we can do for any child, especially a sick or damaged child.

2.  According to this chapter/lesson, how should we pray for a sick child? How have you prayed for children in the past, and how will you now adapt this new principle?

3.  According to this chapter, what are the causes of trauma in children? How does rejection, abandonment or absent parents (mother or father) affect a child?

4.  Discuss the inner healing process, and how you can pray for a child in this way.

For your Journals (homework):

5.  Record the effects of trauma on children, and how it might affect their behaviour. How we can minister to traumatized children?

6.  Explain the principle of forgiveness and how it sets us free.

7.  Observe children, and begin to pray for those who are hurting.


We need a vision for our children and young people – for their spiritual development. Many times the children and youth are given a watered down gospel, and watered down teaching, because we do not believe they can handle the deeper inner truths of the gospel and Kingdom living, or that they can receive the power of the Holy Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit to enable and empower them in their lives. This is an outright lie of the enemy, because he knows that when children do see, hear and understand, they are mighty and powerful in the Kingdom. What we have not grasped is that they CAN hear and understand the deeper truths of the gospel and Christian living, and not only can they grasp it in their spirits, but they can become mighty warriors in the Kingdom, in prayer and in reaching out to others. They need to be taught the whole counsel of God, regardless of their age; and we need to be creative and wise in how we present it.

I have not had many prophetic dreams, but after I came back from a ministry to Kenya, trip in October 2008, I had an internal prophetic dream, or a commission dream. At first it came as vision in my mind, then a dream. I was being called up to heaven, going up a ladder. I went to the top of the ladder into heaven. I walked along a roadway that led to the Father’s throne. Whilst I was there, the Lord showed me some black African people and children (and others behind them; Asian & brown-skinned people). He said I was to lay hands on them, including the children, to bless them and give them gifts from the Kingdom of Heaven....

that I should teach the children AND adults profound simplicity, about His Kingdom, his love, his goodness and grace and to put keys of the Kingdom into their hands too (not just the adults) to give them keys of authority; to teach them to have open hearts and minds to receive his grace and gifts from heaven. I was to put precious gifts of wisdom, kindness, grace and compassion into the hands of the women and to equip the them all in the full armour of God – to put the Word into their hearts and the sword into their hands.

The dream came in parts, and it had a clear message – first GO and TEACH the Kingdom of Heaven – to children and adults alike, and to all the nations. Lay hands on them, give them gifts and equip them. This dream is line with God’s Word to GO and make disciples of ALL NATIONS (Matt 28:19). The Lord commissioned me to not only minister to adults, but to children.... to teach the Kingdom of Heaven (in its entirety) and to put the Keys of the Kingdom in their hands. We do not need to teach adult’s one message, and children a different one; it’s the same message. Children need to be taught the same basic and deeper principals as adults; they need to know about how to be saved, about baptism, about dying to self, about taking up their cross, about communion, about being filled with the Holy Spirit, about the fruits of the Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit, and about Kingdom living, about making Jesus their absolute Lord, even MORE than they need to know about some of the basic Bible stories we normally teach them.

In my experience of working with children and youth, I found that they are not only capable of understanding, but they are hungry and eager to hear that there is a REAL POWER, alive and active now, and they can have the power of the Holy Spirit living and active in them and through them. Children and youth want something that is real and meaningful and powerful. Children are looking for excitement and the supernatural.

When I was a child in Junior School, some of the children in our class decided to play with the Ouija Board and with Levitation. This alarmed me very much, as I knew how dangerous this was, because of my mother’s previous involvement in the occult and witchcraft. One child in particular seemed to channel ‘powers’ that were not from God; she could levitate other children and was the source of children becoming involved in the occult. I prayed. I spoke to the children about this. I spoke to the teachers, who did not listen. I spoke to my mother about this at the time it was happening, and by her speaking to the Head Master about these dangers, it was stopped (at least in the school break-times). Children, youth and adults are all searching for MORE. We need to make sure they get connected to the right source of power, the true, living, powerful and active God that we have, otherwise their lives may become entangled and bound by demonic powers and they are led into a big deception. Ouija boards can lead to séances, tarot readings, white witchcraft and so on... it is a road to destruction that we want to keep our children off, and we want to point to the almighty, powerful and loving God.

I found that children not only understand the deep truths of God and the Kingdom, but they willingly believe it and receive it into their lives; these children have been born again, baptized in water and in the Spirit, speaking in tongues and operating in the Gifts of the Spirit. We need to equip children, just as we equip adults. They need to know they are in a spiritual battle, and they need to know about the armour of God and how each part works, and how they can use this for their protection and they need to know how they can advance the Kingdom of Heaven. When I last went to Africa, the Lord reminded of the dream I have shared with you, and I did just that: I taught the children the same things as the adults, but I presented it differently. I did not water it down, I presented it in picture form, in action, in demonstrations, in forms they could see, hear and understand. They got it – they understood the teaching I was presenting to them clearly, and they remembered what I taught them when I saw them the following year.

What I am looking for, what we all need to be looking for in our children and youth, is FRUIT. Is there fruit in our children and young people’s lives? Are the fruits of the Spirit evident in them? Is the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit evident in their lives? If not, then we need to address this. Sometimes the issue is that children and youth bought up in the church or in Christian homes are assumed to be Christians... yet they may not have had a real encounter with the person of Christ as Saviour and Lord; they may never have surrendered their lives over to God. We should not take it for granted that they are born-again Christians, even if they profess to believe in God. Conversion needs to be real and personal to each and every child and young person. Sometimes the issue is that youth want to mix Christianity with the world’s values and philosophies, but as oil does not mix with water, neither does God’s Spirit mix with the spirit of this world; therefore we need to present the gospel of salvation with the need of repentance and holy living, Kingdom living; and we need to disciple our children and youth.

We need to disciple and train our children and youth in holy living, train them how to pray, praise and worship, (these can be fun, modern, children's and youth praise songs), train them to be Sons and Daughters of the King, train them in the Word, train them in spiritual warfare and deliverance, train them to be patient and persistent; train them to be quiet and still before God and to hear the voice of God speaking to them; train them in the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, train them to minister, train them in faith and boldness, train them in prayer, intercession and worship, train them to evangelize, and train and encourage them in their gifts and callings: to dream and to achieve their personal dreams, their destiny, to achieve their goals in life, to be all that God has made them to be.

Sometimes we entertain them rather than teach and disciple. We can make learning fun, and memorable, but we need to remember our aim is to teach first and foremost. We also need to teach things that are relevant to children and young people’s lives, but FIRST and FOREMOST, we need to teach them who they are in God; they need to know they are not alone, abandoned or orphaned or rejected. They are adopted by the King, they are loved, special, treasured, accepted, wanted and useful; they have a place in God’s heart and in God’s Kingdom - they are Sons and Daughters of God, they are seated with Him in heavenly places, and they have authority and dominion over this world and over the Kingdom of darkness, because of their position and standing with God. It may take some damaged children and young people a long time to receive this, but when we love them and model it with our lives, they will know, understand and experience the love and acceptance of God when we minister love to them; soon they will experience God’s love and acceptance of them for themselves and their hearts will be healed and overflowing with his love.

Our youth also need to know how to handle life’s issues from God’s perspective, such as: handling painful relationships eg family breakups, handling peer pressure, handling relationships with opposite sex, and the subject of sex before marriage, AIDS and pornography. We need to teach them how to handle issues such as bullying, abuse, handling addictions such as smoking, drinking, drugs, handling sickness and death, and life after death, heaven and hell. These are the deeper issues of life that our youth desperately need the right kind of guidance on, but rarely get it from the right source; but if we do not teach it from God’s perspective, then the world will teach them, from its perspective.

We need pastors, teachers to work with our children and young people, to teach them the ways of God, and to mentor and train them, so that THEY do the works of God. God uses children and young people, he always has, both in Biblical times, in times of revival and in OUR time! Think of Samuel in Old Testament, working as a priest in the Temple as a child who became a Prophet; think of David, a shepherd boy, who killed the enemy of Israel, who became a King; think of 12 year old Jesus in the Temple, who baffled the teachers of the law with his wisdom and knowledge of God. Many times and in many ways, God has used children to bring messages and the gospel, to heal, and lead others. God is no respecter of people, and this includes their age! Age is not a barrier to God, it is willingness that counts. God expects our children and young people to be useful in the Kingdom. He wants to use them too! He wants to reveal Himself to them and move through them also. We need to reject the idea of relegating children, and that children should sit on the sidelines, whilst God is at work with the adults!

We need pastors and teachers to work with children and youth, to equip them for life, to equip them for the works of service, and bring them to a place of maturity (Ephesians 4:11-12). We need pastors and teachers who can inspire and train young people, to raise up and release them into ministry. We need prophets to the youth, to increase their vision, to prophesy into and over their lives giving them a sense of destiny and revealing God’s specific will for their lives, and to bring the spirit of prophecy to the children and youth. We need evangelists who can teach and reach the hearts of young people and children, teachers who can teach the whole gospel and deeper truths to children and youth, and youth pastors who can nurture, guide, and care for our children and youth, and be involved with their families and their issues.

Whilst our children and youth are being taught and discipled, we can RELEASE them and give them some responsibilities, and allow them to minister. We can allow children and youth to minister to other children and youth in our churches and schools, and communities, AND we can allow them to minister to our adults! Their faith and simplicity and acceptance often goes far beyond that of an adult, therefore they are able to minister God’s grace and His gifts more freely. We can encourage and allow children and youth run and lead their own meetings, (under adult guidance), because this will increase their spiritual awareness and growth, rather than them becoming spectators and inactive. Please don’t expect them to be perfect, but allow them to make mistakes, and learn from them, as adults do. Please do not restrict them because of their youthfulness, but guide them in love and allow them to mature and become all God intended them to be.

For School / Church:

1. In small groups, discuss how you do children and youth work in your church fellowship. Discuss what message they need to hear, and how we should train/disciple them, eg praise, spiritual warefare etc.

2. In the light of this chapter, what might you need to change to help children develop spiritually? 3. What are apostles, teachers... called to do with regards to children and youth?

3. In groups, pray for the children and youth in your church fellowships, and children and youth in your communities.

For Journal (homework):

1.  What lies does the enemy tell us about children and youth, and what are your thoughts and feelings about the place and role of children and youth in your church?

2.  If there is no ‘fruit’ evident in children and young people’s lives, what might be the cause?

3.  What life issues do youth need teaching and mentoring in? eg relationships with opposite sex....

4.  How can you develop or restructure the way you are working now to incorporate the principles you have learned in this chapter? Pray and ask God to show you what he wants you to do, then record it in your Journal.


I had a vision in 2010 concerning for Children Centres in Migori, Kenya, as part of ministry and work of local community churches that are already established, by working in unity and co-operation with each other. The Centres would be an extension of existing children’s work, but reaching far wider, into the community, enriching the quality of children and family’s lives, and an extension of the Kingdom of God from the Centre into the community.

These Centres were not orphanages or schools, but Centres that use their church building/Centre in a variety of ways to reach out and enrich the lives of children and families in their community in a more effective, unified and corporate way. The Centres do not need to be new buildings, but rather churches and communities can utilize the buildings already in use, with the staff and volunteers already in place, so it does not require huge amounts of money, but it does require good organization!

As an overview, I envisaged the Centres to be a combination of health and education services, to ENRICH people’s lives, based on God's care and Christian principals, and practical help and resources, with different branches of care under its umbrella.

The MAIN ministry of the Children’s Centre should be to extend the Kingdom of Heaven into the lives of families in the community, by teaching Christian principles and values, by loving and caring for families, and by practical assistance and aid wherever possible.


AIM: To offer high quality care and learning combined.

Run by volunteers or teachers, preferably based on play and discovery with informal learning.

Run 3 to 5 mornings per week, minus school holidays.

Activities to include: play and discovery, stories and games, informal learning, appropriate, short, devotionals, and/or include the current curriculum.


AIM: offer high quality care, where children in the community and Centre can talk, play, relax, have fun, and make relationships, and gain self confidence and self esteem, and gently learn about who God is.

Run during the school holidays a few hours each morning or afternoon.

Can be run 2 to 5 mornings per week

Run by volunteer children and youth workers

Activities to include games, sports and other fun activities

Provide refreshments, e.g. fresh clean water or juice, and fruit or rice, if possible.

A short and appropriate devotional time, to explore who God is, and to build a relationship with God, at

beginning OR middle OR end of the session.


AIM: offer high quality care, where children in the community and Centre can talk, play, relax, have fun, and make relationships, and gain self confidence and self esteem.

Run by volunteer children and youth workers, who relate well to children

Run after school, 2 or 3 days per week during school term times, for about 2 hours.

Club to offer sports, games and activities for both girls and boys e.g. board games, ring games, netball, arts and crafts, or anything the children suggest and enjoy.

Provide refreshments, e.g. fresh clean water and fruit or rice, if possible.

Keep a little storage of children’s clothes and shoes for those children whose families are really struggling

to clothe them.

A short and appropriate devotional time, to explore who God is, and to build a relationship with God, at beginning OR middle OR end of the session.



1. To raise up children and youth in the community and Centre, who are active participants to their own spiritual development.

2. To train children and youth in the community and Centre, to be lead by the Holy Spirit, and train them to be future leaders. 

3.  Informal services, run on Sundays during church time (in the school), and maybe also be run one afternoon after school.

4.  Appropriate teaching, stories, songs, worship, dramas, etc adapted to the age, maturity and needs of the children and young people.

5.  Overseen by youth pastors and leaders, but mainly run by the children and youth!

6.  With guidance and mentoring, the children can be the preachers and teachers, and worship leaders.

7.  Children pray for and minister to each other (with guidance).


AIM: To improve the health of children and families in the local community, especially those who cannot attend doctors or hospitals.

1.  One or two mornings and afternoons per week – either in the church building or in the school rooms.

2.  Run by volunteer doctors or nurses to come out to visit the centre on certain days & times, bringing medical supplies etc. Negotiations between the children’s centre and hospitals etc would be necessary.


AIM: To identify, support and improve the practice of parenting and care of children in the community, including health, education, and well-being.

Run by volunteers (women or men) who have some knowledge of child care and health issues.

Identify families in need and support parents and families in need by weekly visits until they are more able to manage.

Families in need may include – children suffering health and nutritional problems, abuse or neglect or abandonment; children who are unable to access basic education – or any other concerns about a child and their family, e.g. sick parents.

Care workers to introduce families to the Centers’ activities, and encourage participation.


AIM: To improve the quality of parenting, to prevent and stop abuse and neglect, and to increase care of children in the community.

Run by volunteers, with knowledge of childcare and parenting issues.

  • Run for ALL members of the family, including grandparents, step parents and fathers !

  • Formal classes, run once a week for approximately 8 weeks, on a rolling programmed, so classes can begin

    again with new parents.

  • To Address issues:

a.  How to manage children’s behavior and the appropriate sort of discipline dealing with issues of abuse and neglect, and the right sort of discipline that does not harm children.

b.  Children and work/education.
c.  Children and AIDS/HIV and how to care for them. Children's health in general, and how to care for them.

d.  Raising step children and grandchildren.
e.  Raising young people and dealing with their issues Any other issues regarding raising children.


AIM: To enable and empower women in the community and Centre to talk, share experiences and knowledge, to share skills and to support one another.

Run by the women for the women, with co-coordinators and appointed leaders, once or twice a week, in an afternoon.

TALKS about issues that affect their lives, e.g.: marriage, remarriage, domestic abuse and violence, divorce, being a widow, coping with poverty, AIDS/HIV, any other issues.

PRACTICAL skills, e.g. learning to weave or sow in a group.  Young children and babies can be cared for and play safety in the group time


AIM: To encourage and enable young people, equipping and giving life skills.

A Youth education program (one or two days school, or on Saturdays)

Exploring issues that relate to young people, e.g. sex/AIDS, drugs, marriage and culture, so young people

are equipped to deal with them.

Training for work program, e.g. in agriculture or other local trades, run voluntarily, by people experienced in this field of work.

Sports and games included in the programs.


AIM: To teach work and life skills, to enable survival of families in the community, and for ANY family member, including youth and elders, men and women.

Run by volunteers with specific skills or experts that they can teach others, to help them earn a living or feed their families e.g. agriculture/farming, fishing, dressmaking, weaving etc.

Run as a rolling programmed, 1 or 2 days per week, over 8 weeks or more, so that the programme can be repeated for other community members.

Teach different skills on different programmes, if possible.

Have a local trade/skills or agricultural products that the Centre can produce and sell, so that you are as

‘self-supporting’ as possible.


The Centre would need a CENTRE MANAGER who co-ordinates, develops and oversees ALL the activities of the Centre.

He/she needs to network with other churches, charities and outside agencies to develop the work, raise awareness of the Centre’s work, and co-ordinate fundraising for special events, activities or resources locally, when needed.

The Manager would need to communicate and work in conjunction with other local churches, organizations, charities, health and community projects, etc so that everyone in the community benefits, so there is a local ownership of the Centre, and so that you get the best quality of input into the Centre as possible. 

An Assistant Manager/Secretary may be appointed to help with fundraising and money management, networking and communication, or other duties necessary.

Some fund-raising efforts by the Centre, or Partners or other charitable organizations, may help with some of the activities, as the overall aim of the Centre is to enrich and improve the quality and lives of children and families in the community. The aim of the Centre is to be self-sufficient, running and funding itself as far as possible, by the joint efforts of the community and those involved in the Centre.

Each branch of activity within the Centre would need a set of Co-coordinators, leaders and assistants, who are ALL voluntarily, but have different responsibilities:

CO-ORDINATORS oversee the running of the group, they plan activities or programmes, and oversee its development and effectiveness.

LEADERS can lead various activities within the group and input into planning, care and effectiveness of the group.

ASSISTANTS help with the practical tasks and assist the leaders and co-coordinators in running the groups on a weekly basis.

Co-ordinators, and leaders should be responsible for the care and development of their groups.

Co-ordinators and leaders should ensure there is good organization, communication, and good team work

between each team member, and be able to resolve any issues peaceably and amicably.

Co-ordinators and leaders should ensure they have plans in place or their own programme.

Regular reviews of the groups and their effectiveness and practice should take place with all workers on a

monthly basis.

Co-ordinators and leaders need to train/mentor all volunteers. In-house training and mentoring will be necessary for all volunteers, plus regular reviews of practice, to keep up to date and improve services provided.

Co-ordinators, leaders, and assistants need to be responsible and accountable to the Centre Manager and to the Directors of the Centre.


A Board of directors are needed, (volunteers) to be the overseers and final decision makers concerning the running and practice of the Centre and its activities.

The board of Directors should be made of various members of the community that are involved in the project, and from a cross-section, e.g. a Bishop/ pastors, doctors, teachers etc and should meet on a regular basis, e.g. once every 3 months, and should discuss issues and running of the Centre and its improvement.

As a result of sharing this vision in 2011 with the Pastors in Migori, two children and youth centres have been set up by pastors in the area of Migori, Kenya.

These ideas are just an example of what ANY church, school or orphanage/children’s home could achieve, when they work together with their community. Each Centre will look and feel and operate different to each other, but if each Centre employs the principles of working together with people from their own community, then many families, parents, and children’s lives could be improved, and they may gain a new hope for their own lives and their future.


Talk about the vision shared in this chapter, and how you and others, working together in your local community, might be able to use or implement some of these ideas and principles, or how you may start to develop your own Children and Family Centre in your own community. Discuss and plan it together, work on it together.


Journal how the project is started, how it evolves and how it progresses over the next months.


Show Journals to Chairperson or Deputy, and briefly show homework in your Journal. Talk about what has meant the most to you during this course, and discuss any questions or issues. This process needs to be carried to receive your certificate of completion.


Beaver M, et al, Babies and Young Children, Nelson Thornes, UK, p304-306 Bradley, Michael, (Chapter 1)
Egner, David, Radio Bible Class Ministries, (Chapter 2)
Ellel Ministries (Chapter 84ministering to children)

Fabiano, F & C, (2003) Healing the Past, Releasing your Future, Sovereign World, UK Green, Sandy, BTEC National, Early Years, Nelson Thornes, 2006 (Chapters 5 & 6) Lindon J (2001) Understanding Children’s Play, (Chapter 3)
Maslow, Heirarchy of Needs (Chapter 3)

Triple P / NCMA (Chapter 5)
Pythes David, Come Holy Spirit (Chapter 5)

Seers Dr. Ask, (Chapter 6) Walters, David, (2007) Kids in Combat, Faith Printing, USA



This is a game best played in a large group. We always played it with the 6-10 year olds at our summer camp. Sit all of the children in a circle, with legs crossed. Have all children put their heads down. one person (we always had at least one adult present) would walk around the circle and tap one child on the head. This person was the assassin.

The child "kills" all other players by winking at them. If you are winked at, silently count to 10, then put your feet in the middle of the circle. We always had a few drama queens who would act as if they really had been shot, and clutch their chest, and shake and scream. very funny. if the assassin kills everyone, then they win. they can be "witnessed" as well. if you think you know who the killer is, before you get winked at, you can say you have a suspect. Such as "I suspect that Sally is the assassin" if someone seconds it (agrees with you) then sally either comes clean. if sally is not the assassin, then the accusers are dead to less brutal version is the sandman. same thing, except being winked at means you take a nap.


Everybody stands in a circle
Pass a beanbag around circle to music
When music stops person holding beanbag is out Pretend the beanbag is a very HOT POTATO Contributed by Wendy Peterson

[This version was played in New England]

The wonder ball goes round and round
To pass it quickly, you are bound
If you're the one, to hold it last
The game is past, and you are out!
Variation: add on another line of verse by spelling the word "out" (e.g., O-U-T, out!)


In this game, kids sit down in a circle facing each other. One person is "it" and walks around the circle. As they walk around, they tap people's heads and say whether they are a "duck" or a "goose". Once someone is the "goose" they get up and try to chase "it" around the circle. The goal is to tap that person before they are able sit down in the "goose's" spot. If the goose is not able to do this, they become "it" for the next round and play continues. If they do tap the "it" person, the person tagged has to sit in the center of the circle. Then the goose becomes it for the next round. The person in the middle can't leave until another person is tagged and they are replaced.

(Bulgarian Version) All of children sit down in the circle. One of them is chosen as Pesek. Everybody (except Pesek) close eyes and Pesek walks around the circle of children and sings: "Pesek walks around us, don't look at him, who will have a look at him, he will be bang to by Pesek."Meanwhile Pesek bangs someone. He must run after Pesek and catch him. Provided he doesn't catch Pesek earlier than Pesek sits down on his place, he becomes a new Pesek.


How to play:

Start with small groups of about 10 people (or smaller). Form a circle.

One person starts with the koosh ball. He/she names a particular person in the group and throws the ball to him/her.

That person must catch the ball then names another person of the group and also throws the ball to him/her.

Everyone in that circle will throw the ball to the person they have each named. This implies that everyone will receive the ball from the same person and throw it to the same person. (i.e.: A always throws the ball to C and C always throws it to G, etc...).

Once the students have completed a full circle of ball throwing (3-4 times) without dropping the ball, The students will become more familiar with the activity. Then add a second ball and repeat the motion. Then go to 3-4 balls...

Once the students are comfortable with this pattern, form a bigger circle by integrating all the students, and start throwing 1 koosh ball. Make a complete pattern. Every student will have the opportunity of receiving and throwing the kooshball. Once the ball has gone around without being dropped, introduce a second ball, then a third, and so on.

This game creates a pattern of motion, involving concentration, focus and a lot of fun. I have gone as high as 9 kooshball with 27 students; it's quite challenging.

A variation:
Students number themselves and call numbers instead of names. The ball can be thrown up in the air and the number called must catch it before it falls
to the ground.


A mix of jump rope, tag, and follow the leader Queen bee follow me See if you can catch me (Anything the Queen bee does, the worker bee must copy while trying to catch up with and tag the Queen bee. The Queen may leave and enter the rope as s/he wishes. With more than two people, you may have more than one Queen and one worker, but the worker always follows only one Queen.


You had to have at least three people to play but an unlimited number could join in.

Everyone would gather in a tight circle and make a fist with both hands and hold their fists out in the center of the circle. I can’t remember exactly how we chose who would be the counter (I think it was whoever was the bossiest at the moment!).[See Picking Who is IT] But anyway, the counter would take one of her fists and tap everyone's fists (including her own) as she said this rhyme: Bubble gum, Bubble gum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?

Who ever she taps last would give a number between 1 and 20. Then the counter would again tap everyone's fists as he/she counted to the specified number. Who ever she landed on had to take that fist out of the circle and place their hand behind their back. Then the counter would start all over again with the Bubble gum, Bubble gum....and repeat the process. Once both of your fists were tapped, you were out. And this went on until it narrowed it down to one-the winner. Now, a lot of  times we used this to help us decide on certain issues-kind of like a fair way of voting on who would be leader for the day or something silly like that. Other times we just played it over and over again to see who won the most and was declared the champion of the day. It was fun and very simple to learn.


One person is chosen as the Farmer and stands in the middle. Everyone sings,

"The farmer in the dell,
the farmer in the dell;
Heigh ho, the Derry-oh the farmer in the dell" and walk around in the circle.

The next verse is
"The farmer takes a wife . . .,"
which is sung as the first person chooses another person from the circle to come to the inside.

The next verse is
"The wife takes a child . . .,"
when the second person inside the circle chooses a third person to be the child. This continues with

"The child takes a dog . . .," "The dog takes a cat . . .," "The cat takes a rat . . .," and "The rat takes the cheese . . .." The final verse is

"The cheese stands alone . . .,"



Everyone sits in a circle. One person who is it stands in the center of the circle. This Person is called " It".

Each person asks the person who is "it" an appropriate question. The only answer to every question has to be answered as " Tomato ".

The first person to make the center person ( It ) laugh wins a try in the middle.

Ex: What color is your hair? Tomato. What do you brush your teeth with? Tomato .(Obviously other funny Questions can be used for variety )


There are two teams.

Team 1 has the front yard and Team 2 has the back yard, or a field was split between the two teams. The teams are given a time period, like 5 minutes, to hide their flag in their part of the yard.

[optional] During this period spies were sent out to see were the flag was hidden as well as look- outs to catch the spies.

When the flag is hidden you call out that you are finished. Then you simply try to get the other teams flag. If you get caught and tagged by the opponent on their territory you had to go to jail and could only be freed by a teammate who grabs you when your opponent isn't looking.

The first team to capture the flag wins. In most versions you had to both get the flag, and bring it back to your side.

DOGGY, DOGGY WHERE'S THE BONE? It's also an inside game.

A student played the part of the dog. He or she sat in a chair with their back to the class. An eraser or another object was put under the chair. That was the bone. While the dog was turned around with his or her eyes closed someone would sneak up and steal the bone and hide it somewhere on his person.

Then everyone would sing: Doggy, Doggy, where's your bone? Somebody's stole it from your home. Guess who it might be you. Then the dog has three chances to guess who took it. Sometimes it was left under his or her chair. If the dog guessed right then he got to do it again. If he guessed wrong than the person who had the bone got a turn as the dog.


First you pick someone to be it (the person to seek) then he/she turns around and counts with their eyes closed at the "base" while the rest of the people hide. Then "It" says "Ready or Not, Here I Come" and rushes to find everyone. Then the people try to get to base without getting tagged or else they are "It". If the person who is "It" doesn't get someone in three tries he gets to pick a man to be it!


Seven students were in front of the class. The class laid their heads on their desk. The seven went out and each touched a person. That person would stick his or her thumb up. Then the seven would say "heads up seven up" and each student got one chance to guess which of the seven touched him If they guessed right than they changed places. If they did not the same person got to stay up.


In this game, one person plays the "stop light" and the rest try to touch him/her.

At the start, all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stop light.

The stop light faces away from the line of kids and says "green light". At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight.

At any point, the stop light may say "red light!" and turn around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out.

Play resumes when the stop light turns back around and says "green light".
The stop light wins if all the kids are out before anyone is able to touch him/her.

Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be "stop light" for the next game.


One person is chosen to be "Simon" the others stand in a straight line.

The Simon then calls out an action for the children to follow. It can be anything like.... touch your toes jump 10 times on 1 foot...... The Simon when giving an action can simply state the action by it self..."touch your ears" and whoever does it is out and has to sit down. Or the Simon can say "Simon says, touch your ears" and them everyone must follow the instruction. You can vary the actions according to the age group of children you are playing with. The last person who is standing can then be "Simon"! This game is very common and easy to play.


One player becomes the wolf and he/she will stand with his/her back turned to the others about 15 feet from the others. The others call out, "What’s the time Mr. Wolf" and the wolf turns to face the others and shouts out a time. E.g.: 9 o'clock. The others would then take 9 steps toward the wolf. The group will take the same amount of steps toward the wolf as the amount of hours in the wolf’s time. e.g., 4 o'clock = 4 steps, 6 o'clock = 6 steps etc. etc. The wolf will then turn his back to the group again for them to yell "what’s the time...." (He looks at the group only when he shouts the time at the group").

When the group comes close to the wolf the next time the group yells "what’s the time Mr. Wolf" the wolf will say 'Its DINNER TIME" and run after the group who are running back to the start line, and hopefully catch one of the group who will then be the wolf. It sounds noisy, but is an interesting game.


Here, kids form a circle holding their hands. Then they would spread out enough that everyone's arms were straight out, to form large spaces between kids. These were the windows and doors. Then one child would start running, and weaving in and out between children. As they did this the kids in the circle would randomly drop their arms down trying to touch or trap the person weaving their way in and out. Once the person was caught or touched by the arms of someone, they were out. They would then choose which person would be next to weave in and out of the windows and doors


Have two safe points such as trees some distance apart.
One person is in the middle as the Hen trying to round up her chicks.
When she calls for her chicks all the little chicks run from one point to the other while the mother
Hen tries to catch them.
If they are caught they have to stay in the middle and help mother hen. The last chick caught gets to be the hen for the next round.
Idea- Change it to what ever animal you want to fit a theme.

APPENDIX 2: Development Charts

Chart 1: psycho-social development, Erikson


Chart 2: The main theorists in Cognitive Development


Chart 3: Children’s physical development


Appendix 3: HIV and AIDS


HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.

This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease.


AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has A

The Origin of HIV

Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in West Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans.

The virus most likely jumped to humans when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat and came into contact with their infected blood.

Over several years, the virus slowly spread across Africa and later into other parts of the world.

The HIV Epidemic


Africa south of the Sahara is the worst-affected, with 2/3 of all living HIV infected persons. In 2008, 91% of all children there were living with HIV and there were 14 million orphaned children, whose parents had died of Aids. It is estimated that in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in 20 people (5%) carry HIV.

In 2008, South Africa, with 5.7 million, was the country with the highest number of HIV-infected people in the world. The situation is even more dramatic in some small countries, which have the highest number of HIV-infected people in percentage terms: Swaziland 26%, Botswana 24%, Lesotho 23%.

In Europe and West

In North America and Western Europe (as in the USA, see graphic) the HIV initially affected the homosexual population and injecting drug addicts. As long ago as the 1980s, the HIV epidemic was insidiously spreading from these key groups into the heterosexual population.

Nevertheless, the rate (percentage of HIV infections within a risk group) among homosexuals and injecting drug addicts is still 30 to 40 times higher than among heterosexuals.

In most western countries, new infections among homosexuals have increased strongly again in the last ten years. On the other hand, the number of new infections among injecting drug addicts fell sharply, e.g. in Switzerland from the most common transmission path at the start of the 90s to 4% of new infections in 2008.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV transmission can occur when blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal fluid, or breast milk from an infected person enters the body of an uninfected person.

HIV can enter the body through a vein (e.g., injection drug use), the lining of the anus or rectum, the lining of the vagina and/or cervix, the opening to the penis, the mouth, other mucous membranes (e.g., eyes or inside of the nose), or cuts and sores. Intact, healthy skin is an excellent barrier against HIV and other viruses and bacteria.

These are the most common ways in which HIV is transmitted from person to person:

1.  by having sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person;

2.  by sharing needles or injection equipment with an injection drug user who is infected with HIV; or

     from HIV-infected women to their babies before or during birth, or through breast-feeding after birth.

3.  HIV also can be transmitted through receipt of infected blood or blood clotting factors. However, since 1985, all donated blood in the United States has been tested for HIV. Therefore, the risk of infection through transfusion of blood or blood products is extremely low. The U.S. blood supply is considered to be among the safest in the world. For more information, see "How safe is the blood supply in the United States?".

4.  Some health-care workers have become infected after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood or, less frequently when infected blood comes in contact with a worker's open cut or is splashed into a worker's eyes or inside their nose. There has been only one instance of patients being infected by an HIV- infected dentist to his patients. For more information, see "Are health care workers at risk of getting HIV on the job?" And "Are patients in a health care setting at risk of getting HIV?"

Symptoms of HIV Infection

The only way to know whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV.

You cannot rely on symptoms alone because many people who are infected with HIV do not have symptoms for many years. Someone can look and feel healthy but can still be infected. In fact, one quarter of the HIV- infected persons in the United States do not know that they are infected.

Clinical stages of HIV infection

The American health authority CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) defines 3 clinical stages of the disease and 3 immunological categories. According to the CDC definition HIV can only be diagnosed with a confirmed HIV positive test.

Stage A covers both the acute HIV illness and the subsequent clinical latency. The acute HIV illness arises 3-6 weeks after infection for 50-70% with flu type symptoms: fever, skin eruptions, throat inflammation, muscular pains, lymph node swelling, headache, and nausea.

During clinical latency there are no further complaints although some people have continuous Lymphadenopathie in the shoulders, back or neck. The clinical latency can last for many years.

Stage B consists of disease symptoms prior to stage C (AIDS), which further weakens the immune system. Usually these symptoms accompany a general worsening of health. In addition to long lasting (a month plus) symptoms such as fever, night sweats and weight loss, many other infections such as Candida infections of the mouth and throat or viral illnesses like belt rose occur.

Stage C is the final phase of the HIV infection, the actual AIDS illness. It is the collapse of the immune system. The pattern of the AIDS illness is unmistakable although individual symptoms may vary. Diverse infections and cancers are common, as are fungal infections of the esophagus and special forms of pneumonia (Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia), also common are virus illnesses (i.e. retinal inflammation CMV-Retinitis), parasite infection (i.e. Toxoplasmosis that causes brain abscesses), rare cancer forms (e.g. Kaposisarkom, Lymphdrüsensarkom, brain tumors) as well as neurological illnesses (among other things HIV dementia) and strong weight loss (Wasting syndrome).

Course of HIV infection

The course of untreated HIV infection can be divided into three phases: the acute HIV disease, then the latency phase and finally the disease of Aids, ending in death.

The acute HIV disease lasts a few weeks. This period is also known as the window of vulnerability, and it is characterized by an explosive replication of the HIV. During this phase, the HIV’s invade the organs of the defense system and other bodily organs and establishes themselves there.

The latency phase lasts on average 10 years, during which the virus concentration is relatively low.

In the Aids phase the defense system is completely destroyed, as the result of which death occurs after 1-2 years

Diagnosis of HIV infection

HIV can't be diagnosed through a medical examination or via disease symptoms. Diagnosis is only possible on the detection of the HIV virus or antibodies in body fluids (e.g. blood). Normally the presence of antibodies is tested.

The diagnostic window:

It takes some weeks before sufficient quantities of antibodies exist in the blood for the test. This period from infection to proof of infection is called the diagnostic window. The period varies from person to person and is dependent on several factors (transmission path, quantity of transferred viruses, immune system etc.).

The diagnostic window can be reduced by an average of 3 weeks with the use of an antigen (virus) test or a combination of antigen and antibody tests. For most people the time taken between infection and diagnosis is 3 months but it may take 6 months before it is possible.

Drug Treatment - Antiretroviral therapy (ART)

The current therapy for HIV infection is called HAART (Highly Active AntiRetroviral Therapy) and consists of a combination of at least three different active ingredients. There are more than 20 different drugs in use.

A successful HAART suppresses the viral load (concentration of HIV in the blood) below the detection threshold and indirectly increases the number of T-helper cells. Due to these drugs, an HIV infection changes from a fatal illness into a chronic illness. This way it is possible to prevent the appearance of symptoms, and also to significantly reduce the risk of infection.

The drugs all prevent replication of HIV via various mechanisms, by interrupting the replication cycle. However, these drugs can only work over the long term, if they are taken daily, 365 days a year.

Thanks to antiretroviral therapy (ART), people infected with HIV are living significantly longer and have a better quality of life. But ART cannot completely eliminate the HIV in a person and it is not a cure. The drugs must be taken for a lifetime, which is a heavy burden on the patient. As soon as the drugs are stopped, the viruses replicate again explosively. Sometimes the drugs are not tolerated or the HIV’s are resistant to these drugs, which therefore do not work any longer.


A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 1 (Definition of the child): The Convention defines a 'child' as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adulthood younger. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body for the Convention, has encouraged States to review the age of majority if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.

Article 2 (Non-discrimination): The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.

Article 3 (Best interests of the child): The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.

Article 4 (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they agree to review their laws relating to children. This involves assessing their social services, legal, health and educational systems, as well as levels of funding for these services. Governments are then obliged to take all necessary steps to ensure that the minimum standards set by the Convention in these areas are being met. They must help families protect children’s rights and create an environment where they can grow and reach their potential. In some instances, this may involve changing existing laws or creating new ones. Such legislative changes are not imposed, but come about through the same process by which any law is created or reformed within a country. Article 41 of the Convention points out the when a country already has higher legal standards than those seen in the Convention, the higher standards always prevail.

Article 5 (Parental guidance): Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children so that, as they grow, they learn to use their rights properly. Helping children to understand their rights does not mean pushing them to make choices with consequences that they are too young to handle. Article 5 encourages parents to deal with rights issues "in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child". The Convention does not take responsibility for children away from their parents and give more authority to governments. It does place on governments the responsibility to protect and assist families in fulfilling their essential role as nurturers of children.

Article 6 (Survival and development): Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.

Article 7 (Registration, name, nationality, care): All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognised by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.

Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.

Article 9 (Separation from parents): Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child.

Article 10 (Family reunification): Families whose members live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact, or get back together as a family.

Article 11 (Kidnapping): Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally. This article is particularly concerned with parental abductions. The Convention’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has a provision that concerns abduction for financial gain.

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This does not mean that children can now tell their parents what to do. This Convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making -- not give children authority over adults. Article 12 does not interfere with parents' right and responsibility to express their views on matters affecting their children. Moreover, the Convention recognizes that the level of a child’s participation in decisions must be appropriate to the child's level of maturity. Children's ability to form and express their opinions develops with age and most adults will naturally give the views of teenagers greater weight than those of a preschooler, whether in family, legal or administrative decisions.

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.

Article 13 (Freedom of expression): Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.

Article 14 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion): Children have the right to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should help guide their children in these matters. The Convention respects the rights and duties of parents in providing religious and moral guidance to their children. Religious groups around the world have expressed support for the Convention, which indicates that it in no way prevents parents from bringing their children up within a religious tradition. At the same time, the Convention recognizes that as children mature and are able to form their own views, some may question certain religious practices or cultural traditions. The Convention supports children's right to examine their beliefs, but it also states that their right to express their beliefs implies respect for the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 15 (Freedom of association): Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others.

Article 16 (Right to privacy): Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes.

Article 17 (Access to information; mass media): Children have the right to get information that is important to their health and well-being. Governments should encourage mass media – radio, television, newspapers and Internet content sources – to provide information that children can understand and to not promote materials that could harm children. Mass media should particularly be encouraged to supply information in languages that minority and indigenous children can understand. Children should also have access to children’s books.

Article 18 (Parental responsibilities; state assistance): Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their children, and should always consider what is best for each child. Governments must respect the responsibility of parents for providing appropriate guidance to their children – the Convention does not take responsibility for children away from their parents and give more authority to governments. It places a responsibility on governments to provide support services to parents, especially if both parents work outside the home.

Article 19 (Protection from all forms of violence): Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them. 

In terms of discipline, the Convention does not specify what forms of punishment parents should use. However any form of discipline involving violence is unacceptable. There are ways to discipline children that are effective in helping children learn about family and social expectations for their behaviour – ones that are non- violent, are appropriate to the child's level of development and take the best interests of the child into consideration. In most countries, laws already define what sorts of punishments are considered excessive or abusive. It is up to each government to review these laws in light of the Convention.

Article 20 (Children deprived of family environment): Children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language.

Article 21 (Adoption): Children have the right to care and protection if they are adopted or in foster care. The first concern must be what is best for them. The same rules should apply whether they are adopted in the country where they were born, or if they are taken to live in another country.

Article 22 (Refugee children): Children have the right to special protection and help if they are refugees (if they have been forced to leave their home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in this Convention.

Article 23 (Children with disabilities): Children who have any kind of disability have the right to special care and support, as well as all the rights in the Convention, so that they can live full and independent lives.

Article 24 (Health and health services): Children have the right to good quality health care – the best health care possible – to safe drinking water, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help them stay healthy. Rich countries should help poorer countries achieve this.

Article 25 (Review of treatment in care): Children who are looked after by their local authorities, rather than their parents, have the right to have these living arrangements looked at regularly to see if they are the most appropriate. Their care and treatment should always be based on “the best interests of the child”. (see Guiding Principles, Article 3)

Article 26 (Social security): Children – either through their guardians or directly – have the right to help from the government if they are poor or in need.

Article 27 (Adequate standard of living): Children have the right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and mental needs. Governments should help families and guardians who cannot afford to provide this, particularly with regard to food, clothing and housing.

Article 28: (Right to education): All children have the right to a primary education, which should be free. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries achieve this right. Discipline in schools should respect children’s dignity. For children to benefit from education, schools must be run in an orderly way – without the use of violence. Any form of school discipline should take into account the child's human dignity. Therefore, governments must ensure that school administrators review their discipline policies and eliminate any discipline practices involving physical or mental violence, abuse or neglect. The Convention places a high value on education. Young people should be encouraged to reach the highest level of education of

which they are capable.

Article 29 (Goals of education): Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people. Children have a particular responsibility to respect the rights their parents, and education should aim to develop respect for the values and culture of their parents. The Convention does not address such issues as school uniforms, dress codes, the singing of the national anthem or prayer in schools. It is up to governments and school officials in each country to determine whether, in the context of their society and existing laws, such matters infringe upon other rights protected by the Convention.

Article 30 (Children of minorities/indigenous groups): Minority or indigenous children have the right to learn about and practice their own culture, language and religion. The right to practice one’s own culture, language and religion applies to everyone; the Convention here highlights this right in instances where the practices are not shared by the majority of people in the country.

Article 31 (Leisure, play and culture): Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.

Article 32 (Child labour): The government should protect children from work that is dangerous or might harm their health or their education. While the Convention protects children from harmful and exploitative work, there is nothing in it that prohibits parents from expecting their children to help out at home in ways that are safe and appropriate to their age. If children help out in a family farm or business, the tasks they do be safe and suited to their level of development and comply with national labour laws. Children's work should not jeopardize any of their other rights, including the right to education, or the right to relaxation and play.

Article 33 (Drug abuse): Governments should use all means possible to protect children from the use of harmful drugs and from being used in the drug trade.

Article 34 (Sexual exploitation): Governments should protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. This provision in the Convention is augmented by the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Article 35 (Abduction, sale and trafficking): The government should take all measures possible to make sure that children are not abducted, sold or trafficked. This provision in the Convention is augmented by the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Article 36 (Other forms of exploitation): Children should be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development.

Article 37 (Detention and punishment): No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly. They should not be put in prison with adults, should be able to keep in contact with their families, and should not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of release.

Article 38 (War and armed conflicts): Governments must do everything they can to protect and care for children affected by war. Children under 15 should not be forced or recruited to take part in a war or join the armed forces. The Convention’s Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict further develops this right, raising the age for direct participation in armed conflict to 18 and establishing a ban on compulsory recruitment for children under 18.

Article 39 (Rehabilitation of child victims): Children who have been neglected, abused or exploited should receive special help to physically and psychologically recover and reintegrate into society. Particular attention should be paid to restoring the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

Article 40 (Juvenile justice): Children who are accused of breaking the law have the right to legal help and fair treatment in a justice system that respects their rights. Governments are required to set a minimum age below which children cannot be held criminally responsible and to provide minimum guarantees for the fairness and quick resolution of judicial or alternative proceedings.

Article 41 (Respect for superior national standards): If the laws of a country provide better protection of children’s rights than the articles in this Convention, those laws should apply.

Article 42 (Knowledge of rights): Governments should make the Convention known to adults and children. Adults should help children learn about their rights, too. (See also article 4.)

Articles 43-54 (implementation measures): These articles discuss how governments and international organizations like UNICEF should work to ensure children are protected in their rights.