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ERIC Number: EJ855730
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1350-293X
Listening to Young Citizens: The Struggle to Make Real a Participatory Paradigm in Research with Young Children
Pascal, Christine; Bertram, Tony
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, v17 n2 p249-262 Jun 2009
Since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified in 1991, children's right to have a voice, and to have their opinions heard, has led many providers and practitioners in the field of early years to seek ways to involve children's perspectives in the evaluation and development of practice. Those who value democracy understand that encouraging young children to actively participate has long term implications for participatory citizenship. Researchers in early childhood have also been sensitised to the challenge of inclusive research, in which our youngest children are viewed as active subjects, rather than objects, in a research process that is set in the context of a democratic encounter. The Centre for Research in Early Childhood in Birmingham, England has a strong ethical commitment to including the voices of children as an integral part of all its research and development work. We operate through an ethos of empowerment of all participants, and aim for participatory research practice which has at its heart an active involvement in promoting the rights of children as citizens with voice and power. This paper will trace a brief history of the children's participatory position in England and explore the struggles and challenges we, as researchers, have faced in making our personal commitment to children's participation a reality. It will draw upon the work of a series of research and development projects we have undertaken over the last fifteen years in which we tried to work alongside children to explore and document their realities of life in early childhood settings. These projects include the Effective Early Learning (EEL) Programme, the Accounting Early for Life Long Learning (AcE) Programme, the Children Crossing Borders Project (Bertram and Pascal 2007) and the Opening Windows (OW) Programme. Through the work of these projects, and with an especial focus on the Children Crossing Borders research, which was the precursor to the OW programme, we explain how we have attempted to provide space for multiple voices in the research process. We share our learning about how better to support and listen to the voices of young children, who are the most often silenced in the production of knowledge and understandings about their lives. From this experience, methodological and epistemological lessons for researchers and practitioners will be identified and further explored.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France; Germany; Italy; United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England); United States