Look who's talking : factors for considering the facilitation of very young children's voices

Wall, Kate and Cassidy, Claire and Robinson, Carol and Hall, Elaine and Beaton, Mhairi and Kanyal, Mallika and Mitra, Dana (2019) Look who's talking : factors for considering the facilitation of very young children's voices. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 17 (4). pp. 263-278. ISSN 1476-718X (https://doi.org/10.1177/1476718X19875767)

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Grounded in children’s rights, this article advances understanding of the affordances and constraints in implementing Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in educational settings with young children – those under 7. It starts from the premise that if we are to foster democratic skills and understanding in children and young people, we need to develop practices that support this from the earliest age. The article presents the outcomes of a seminar series facilitating dialogue among international academics working in the field and a range of early years practitioners. This opportunity for extended dialogue led to the development of a rich and sophisticated conceptual clarity about the factors that need to be considered if Article 12 is to be realised with very young children. Eight factors were identified as pivotal for consideration when facilitating voices with this age group: definition; power; inclusivity; listening; time and space; approaches; processes; and purposes. This article explores each in turn and proposes a series of provocations and questions designed to support practitioners in their endeavour to elicit young children’s voices.