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ERIC Number: EJ1235659
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0020-7187
Children's Agency: Opportunities and Constraints
Sirkko, Riikka; Kyrönlampi, Taina; Puroila, Anna-Maija
International Journal of Early Childhood, v51 n3 p283-300 Nov 2019
Children's agency accords with the principles emphasised by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations in Convention on the rights of the child. UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Geneva. Retrieved from,, 1989). This study focuses on children's opportunities for agency in first grade of a Finnish primary school. The research explored how children's agency was evident in photographs taken by 16 children on their school experiences and discussions with the researcher about the photographs. A phenomenological approach was used in the analyses to identify four themes in the data: the social order of school; teacher's pedagogical tools; break times; and learning new skills. In the school context, the children's agency seemed to require continuous balancing between the children's freedom and adults' power and authority. Pedagogically, the results imply that the adults who work with children can listen closely to children's voices in order to strengthen opportunities in classrooms and to support children's sense of personal agency. The study challenges teachers to consider how classroom practices may divide or categorise some children and how these practice may reduce children's participation, contribution and agency.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Grade 1; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A