224 – Teaching early years students about child ‘voice’

Presentation - ECV2022-224

Teaching early years students about child ‘voice’

Deirdre Horgan, University College Cork, Ireland (d.horgan@ucc.ie)

Background: Child participation and ‘voice’ is a national priority in Ireland and is supported by the Constitution and a National Strategy and Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making. Meanwhile, a new accreditation system has been introduced as part of the Irish government’s plan for the development and upskilling of the Early Learning and Care workforce. However, training in this critical professional area at both qualifying and in-service levels is patchy.

Aim: This presentation aims to outline a model for teaching child voice to undergraduate/ qualifying practitioners in early years who will go into the sector recognising this as a fundamental aspect of their work.

Method: Designing, implementing, and reviewing an interactive and reflective module on child voice for undergraduate early years students.

Conclusions: All students in the final year of their qualifying training in an early years Degree programme undertook this module. This paper reflects on the challenges and learning from attempting to embed child participation knowledge, practice, and values in a group of undergraduate early years students.

Implications for children and families: Children and families will be engaging with more reflective practitioners who value and encourage children’s expression and participation in the life of the early years setting.

Implications for practitioners: Practitioners will become more aware of their own biases and prejudices in relation to the capacities of young children to have a ‘voice’. You will adopt rights-based approach to early years practice, promoting children’s full participation in your setting.

Key words: children’s voices, communication, qualitative methods

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Scroll to Top