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What does "essential" mean?

Updated: May 9, 2020

A while ago, Youngest was liberally spraying the bed with eucalyptus essential oil. When asked what she was doing, she said “It’s essential!” Then paused, and added, “What does essential mean?”

What a good question.

At a time when we’re hearing a lot of judgments made about what is and isn’t “essential”, it’s interesting to remember that Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child creates a specific right for all children to “participate freely in cultural life and the arts”.

Given that we may need to continue to keep away from each other to keep one another safe for some time yet, and given that music and the arts are tending to get pushed to the bottom of the pile of “essential-ness”, there’s a move towards finding creative ways to share our art, whether it’s serenading the street from our front garden, sharing videos, or moving online.

This question of how to ensure children retain their right to “participate freely in cultural life and the arts” is one I’ve been spending a lot of time on, and I have an idea which you’ll be hearing more about shortly. For now I’d love it if you’d get in touch if you would like to share anything about your experience of the arts in lockdown with a little one. What have you tried? What’s worked? What’s failed? What creative solutions have you come up with? I’d also love to hear from you about your little ones’ experience of being separated from older/elderly relatives - grandparents, great grandparents and others. Some of you tuned into First Songs Sessions this week with Grandparents on FaceTime - a truly creative solution! Stories and snippets like this would be tremendously helpful. Leave a comment or email to get in touch.

Keep safe, (try to) keep sane, and keep singing!

Zoe x

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