London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Children’s right to physical immunity: the legislative situation in Estonia and its implications for education

Author(s) Merle Taimalu  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
The development of children is influenced by a diverse range of environmental conditions. According to Bronfenbrenner (1979), the most important of them are what are called micro-systems (family, school and kindergarten) through which the main values and attitudes are formed. Ongoing social changes such as informationalisation and globalisation have brought more distant influences – meso- and macro-systems – closer to children. Many educational values have changed or need to be changed in future, and current legislation also needs to be reviewed critically. Awareness of children as persons with their own inalienable rights is increasing in European educational discussion. However, this awareness is not always reflected sufficiently in legislation or in societal attitudes. One of the child’s rights is the right to physical immunity – children must not be treated in a harmful or cruel way nor punished physically. In all European countries, laws prohibit the corporal punishment of students by teachers, but in many countries legislation is silent about corporal punishment by parents. The aim of current paper is to analyse attitudes and the legislative situation in Estonia and Europe, to present the results of a study about the disciplinary methods of Estonian parents of pre-school children, and finally to consider the possible implications of the situation for education and teachers.

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