Children have the right to participate in all matters affecting them, freely expressing their views and having them respected and considered. Young children’s participation is key to developing a culture of human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Therefore, young people’s active participation and decision-making in society must be protected and encouraged from an early age. Even though children’s right to participate is key to education quality, its implementation in early childhood education (ECE) remains a challenge. To support high-quality ECE through the implementation of children’s right to participate, we propose a multilevel professional development approach.
We aimed to strengthen ECE teachers, assistants, and coordinators’:
To reach these goals, we developed four independent but complementary professional development resources:
We examined the feasibility of this toolkit, gathering input from end users to inform its development.
Project activities involved three types of participants: ECEC teachers, ECEC teacher assistants, and ECEC staff with leadership roles. Around 100 ECEC professionals, across four countries (Belgium, Greece, Poland, and Portugal), participated in focus groups to inform the design and content of the Intellectual Outputs, building on expertise from the field. Further, over 100 ECEC professionals, from 36 ECEC centres across the four countries, participated in the feasibility analysis of the toolkit.
Major project activities included:
We aimed to reach all types of ECEC professionals and centres, including rural and urban communities, the public and private sectors, etc., creating a shared awareness of the importance of children’s right to participate to increase ECEC quality. We expect ECEC professionals:
We expect long-term improvements in ECEC classroom and centre quality, based on increased reciprocity levels in relationships and interactions among professionals and among professionals and children. These long-term changes are likely to result in increased well-being for children. Importantly, potential benefits of children’s participation include increases in children’s self-esteem, self-efficacy, communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills; increases in teachers’ respect for children’s ideas, interests, and needs; as well as improved organization and functioning of ECEC centres. Further, improved organizational competence in listening to children’s and professionals’ voices should result in increased levels of perceived procedural justice, increasing leadership legitimacy.
The European Commission’s support for the production of this work does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.