« A VOICE FOR CHILDREN »
In March 2000, Grand Boisé Elementary School, situated in Chelsea, Québec, organized a four day on air radio project producing a large success and reaping an enormous amount of popularity amongst the neighboring schools and community groups. 325 children from kindergarten to grade 6 participated in the production of 48 hours of programming transmitted on the 89,9 frequency band and broadcasted within the national capital region.
In March 2001, 50 elementary schools across Canada emulated this incredible radio experience. The enthusiasm and keen interest emanating from this project by all the participants, children, teachers and parents alike prompted the «Fondation Radio Enfant- Children?s Radio Foundation» to immediately prepare an application for an operating license from the CRTC to undertake a pilot project dedicated to children and teenagers, from the age groups of 5 to 18 years, within the capital region.
The Children's Radio Foundation Inc. and the Children's Radio Workshop, has sollicited financial support from the Department of Canadian Heritage in order to sustain the development of children's participation in radio production. While working on the experimental aspect of this local radio we are now extending the development of Children's Radio to all the Canadian schools interested. We are convinced of the enormous potential of this concept.
THE CHILDREN'S RADIO WORKSHOP INC. A team of professionals
The Children's Radio Workshop Inc. is a new and dynamic company bringing together a team of professionals from the education and communication fields.
The project is pioneered by Michel Delorme, well known, in community radio development across Canada as well as internationally as the Founder of AMARC. He is accompanied by a group of dedicated professionals.
Children's Radio Workshop has as principal mandate to unite resources and expertise to further radio development with and by children's participation. To promote and encourage children expression and active participation using the radio medium sums up the uniqueness of the children radio concept.
Presently, Children Radio Workshop is working on the following three components of its development of which some aspects are already in the second generation of experimentation. They are :
a) the organization of a series of short duration radio broadcasts within a pedagogical framework;
b) the application for a Children radio broadcasting license from the CRTC;
c) the study and analysis of an expansion project of Children?s radio activity across Canada.
The Children Radio Workshop has also written and prepared instruction manuals for students, teachers and parents.
CHILDREN RADIO OBJECTIVES
A short description :
Since March 2001, more than 250 schools have broadcasted their radio programs to their communities using either a mobile radio station designed by the Children Radio Workshop Inc. or their local community radio. The only on air personnel were the kids themselves, the children also manipulated all the equipment, microphones, c d players, cassettes etc. They were helped on their research for their shows by their teachers and parents and worked in teams of three participants. Each school had the responsibility to create a special radio committee to supervise the project and see to the more complex technical needs and for finding the necessary resources.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES PERTAINING TO CHILDREN RADIO
- Encourage children expression through a simple and accessible media;
The process is built to encourage the development of children's creativity, they do research, they write the words, they speak, they practice team work, they gain self esteem, they do interviews, collect the news and prepare debates, presentations, they sing, play music., as well as produce and participate in radio drama. It's all theirs and they do it.
- As they experiment and learn they cultivate their national pride and sense of belonging by discovering the immense richness in the varied cultures within Canada as well as Canada two official languages.
- And that's not all, they learn about radio technology, production techniques, radio history, its place in the media mosaic, types of radio programs, radio program financing, publicity, the public opinion and the code of ethics. Lots to learn with and by radio production and broadcasting.
- Special attention is given to the 5 to 12 age groups. The Children's Radio Workshop values the development of this age group potential for creativity and all the cultural support material available. We consider it very important that this age group be given the opportunity to hear songs and stories created by Canadians and rarely heard on the radio.
- Children radio draws out people within the community. A very special kind of networking happens as parents actually begin talking and exchanging as a result of their participation in the project. The educational aspect positively influences the educators and the parents who have the opportunity to listen to problems concerning youth and teenagers from their point of view.
- On a completely other level, children learn first hand about project management and cooperation.
- What a refreshing sound to hear children voices speak with authenticity on the air where ordinarily none are hardly ever heard!
SOME OF THE CHALLENGES
To organize a similar event with the schools, it is vitally important to be aware of the pedagogical and technical responsibilities, requirements and demands as well as time limits etc.
For the technical aspects, one must remember the CRTC regulation and application. The application is relatively simple to fill out. We found our Children Radio Mobile Unit to be ideal, compact and easy to use for the children as well as the volunteer parents and teachers.
We did a small survey following our first broadcast experience and discovered these seven very important issues that must be addressed to ensure a successful Children Radio Broadcast. They are :
1. We must ensure adequate parent participation to support teachers.
2. We must provide pedagogical tools, such as instruction manuals for children, parents and teachers. We must provide a Website and information sessions for the radio committees for each school.
3. It is paramount for all the participants especially the adults to consider the children as equal partners in this project.
4. It is also of great importance to envision this project as an educational one from the outset. It is meant to be a hands on learning experience for all.
5. We strongly suggest to avoid any commercialization of the project.
6. An important challenge for Children Radio is to convince the political authorities to render us eligible in order to receive television and radio contributions.
7. Finally, we hope to obtain financial support from existing foundations and from the private sector as well.
19 March 2007
Find all information on the CRTC Decision approving the application by Fondation radio enfant (du Canada) to operate a non profit French language AM radio station in Gatineau and Ottawa, with programming oriented to children and youth.
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