Review on children’s right to participate in early childhood education settings

"Children's right to participate in early childhood education settings: A systematic review" is the theme of a new article by ISOTIS researcher Cecília Aguiar (ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa) and colleagues, published in Children and Youth Services Review.

According to the abstract of this article:

"Children's right to participate is considered pivotal for establishing a culture of democracy and citizenship. Although this is not a new concept, its application remains a challenge. This review aims to map peer-reviewed empirical research conducted on children's right to participate, in center-based early childhood education settings, from 1980 on. A systematic literature search was performed and 36 studies met the inclusion criteria. Findings suggest a limited number of publications, conducted mostly in northern Europe countries, in the education field. Regarding definitions and theoretical backgrounds, sociological, legal, democratic, and educational discourses converge. There is a prominence of qualitative studies, a greater focus of research on ideas about participation, and, to a lesser extent, a focus on practices to promote participation. There is more emphasis on teacher's perspectives and practices, with few studies relying on children as informants, and limited sound measures to assess children's participation. Future research should rely on multiple informants, and investigate associations between this right and children's individual outcomes."

The highlights of this article are:
"- Mapping of empirical research on children's right to participate in ECE.
- Limited number of publications, mostly from northern Europe and education field.
- Greater focus on ideas about participation and to a lesser extent on practices.
- Few studies relying on children as informants, and limited participation measures.
- Need to further investigate the effects of participation at the individual level."

This article is available here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.02.031

Reinforcing the children's right to participate, the ISOTIS team listened to children’s perspectives on inclusion and well-being at school. Click here to read more.