Childhood is a time for learning about the essentials -
about the heavenly world and the earthly,
about goodness, beauty and truth.
Childhood is a time to be loved and to love -
to express fear and to learn trust -
to be allowed to be serious and calm
and to celebrate with laughter and joy.
Children have a right to dream,
and they need time to grow at their own pace.
They have the right to make mistakes
and the right to be forgiven.
Children need to help to develop self-mastery,
To transform themselves and bring forth their highest capacities.
Children have a right to be spared violence and hunger
to have a home and protection
They need help to grow up healthily,
With good habits and sound nutrition.
Children need people to respect,
Adults whose example and loving authority they follow.
They need a range of experience - tenderness and kindness,
boldness and courage, and even mischief and misbehaviour.
Children need time for receiving and giving,
for belonging and participating.
They need to be part of a community, and they need to be individuals.
They need privacy and sociability.
They need time to rest and time to play,
time to do nothing and time to work.
They need moments for devotion and room for curiosity.
They need protective boundaries and freedom for creativity.
They need to be introduced to a life of principles
and given the freedom to discover their own.
They need a relationship to the earth -
to animals and to nature,
and they need to unfold as human beings within the community.
The spirit of childhood is to be protected and nurtured.
It is an essential part of every human being and needs to be kept alive.
International Joint Alliance Working Group - New York 1999