A team of early childhood leaders recently asked me for help with their funded research project. Their aim was to investigate if ‘eliciting their children’s voices impacts on the children’s learning, development and well-being, and if so, how’. Children have a right to ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘right to be heard’ (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 1989) and these are experienced, highly qualified early childhood practitioners. They lead provision characterised by statements of vision which refer variously to every child as unique, with individual needs and ways of learning which are recognised, appreciated and met and who is enabled to be confident, caring, valued, independent, motivated, supported, self-disciplined and respected. Nevertheless, these experts who advocate for children every day could not be sure if – and how – listening to young children’s voices affects the children’s well-being, development and learning. In this editorial, I consider why this might be the case and explore some messages that the wider field of early childhood education may have for these early childhood leaders.
Bibliographical noteJane Murray is Associate Professor and Co-Director at the Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK. She has published extensively on early childhood education and social inclusion, and is Editor of the International Journal of Early Years Education.
- Young children's voices
- Children's voice
- Young children's perspectives
- Early childhood
- Early childhood education
- early childhood education and care