Axe Beacon Federation is currently developing 3DChild as a school based strategy to celebrate and champion the variety of childhood and to help children discover the height, breadth and depth of who they are.

The aims of 3DChild are:

To celebrate and value the variety of childhood

To provide explicit and consistent language and images to help pupils identify the height, breadth and depth of who they are

To incentivise and support variety of activity at school and at home

This strategy has been developed from observations of staff and items in the media that have highlighted the pressures on children and families that can restrict and tempt to restrict the variety of childhood and become increasingly one-dimensional. There are pressures brought on by living in a time of austerity, money can be tight and our schools are no exception here, that mean it can be expensive and difficult to get out and about as a family. Disposable income may be limited for many families and so spending on enriching activities for children may be shelved in the light of other financial needs. Work pressures mean that the amount of family time can be short. Technology is great and can enrich a child massively, but with persuasive design features to keep users hooked and the always on, always available nature of this, further tempts to be one-dimensional. In this we mean that a child entertains and expresses themselves through one medium alone.  

We are not the only ones to recognise these challenges. The excellent Disrupted Childhood report written by the 5 rights foundation clearly expresses the difficulties and temptations that can limit three-dimensional expression and entertainment. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published a guide for parents about screen time, noting the concerns they had about excessive use.

The 3DChild strategy is not an anti-technology strategy. We want children to be three-dimensional in their expression, entertainment and social needs, this includes technology but places it in the context of other worthwhile activities. The aim of 3DChild is to celebrate and champion the variety of childhood, encouraging children to try lots and lots of different things, alone and with other people, on-screen and off-screen, to keep learning and growing and developing to find where their interests and talents truly lie.

To help children focus on the variety of childhood, the strategy is symbolised by the 3DChild cube, a three-dimensional object for a three-dimensional child. There are 6 facets to the cube and each one in the strategy stands for a different aspect of child development and seeks to champion those things that the pressures on schools, families and children can be tempted to miss out.

create – yellow – making things artistically, functionally, physically or verbally

energise – pink – being physically active and healthy

explore – green – going beyond the limits of your home or classroom, through learning and research or visiting and discovery

imagine – purple – responding to acts of imagination and developing your own thoughts, ideas and images

relax – blue – taking time to switch off, rest and recharge

socialise – red – spending time with others, communicating and collaborating

The schools in our Federation will be taking each facet as a focus for each half term, sharing ideas of what could be done to express each facet of the cube. Explicit links will be made in school and families and children will be encouraged to take part in a range of different activities to match the facet and other facets of the cube too. Activities that children do will be recognised in school.

As the strategy develops, there will be opportunities for families to participate in celebratory events and further resources create to support the communication of the strategy in lessons across the curriculum.

Example of Curriculum resources