Reimagining young children's involvement in research: Framing an approach for capturing child voice

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Christopher, Vicki. 2022. "Reimagining young children's involvement in research: Framing an approach for capturing child voice." ICSEI Virtual Congress 2022. Virtual Norway.
Paper/Presentation Title

Reimagining young children's involvement in research: Framing an approach for capturing child voice

Presentation TypePresentation
Authors
AuthorChristopher, Vicki
Year2022
Place of PublicationNorway
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://2022.icsei.net/
Conference/EventICSEI Virtual Congress 2022
Event Details
ICSEI Virtual Congress 2022
Event Location
Virtual
Abstract

This paper will outline a PhD research study which provides an opportunity to reimagine how children can be authentically involved in research. The project is an investigation of children aged four to five years, attending three Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sites within south east Queensland, Australia. Each of these services utilise natural environments in varying ways to enhance children’s learning and development. The aim of the research is to capture the lived experiences of children within these natural spaces. While consultations and conversations with educators and families will complement the project, the key aim is to capture children’s experiences and illuminate their voices. The research will contribute to the existing conversation about the increasing interest in nature as key to ECEC experiences (see Dankiw et al., 2020), and will forefront the voices of children in representing their insights. The main focus of this paper highlights the importance in involving children in this research in a way that is authentic and meaningful to both inform research – as well as to value children as competent citizens with rights. Through a rights-based lens, the Lundy Model of Participation (2007) informs the conceptualisation of the research design, underpinned by the core components of space, voice, audience and influence (Lundy, 2007) Specifically, the paper will outline a research design identifying means and methods through which educators and researchers can create and share knowledge about children’s perspectives through authentic understandings of educational effectiveness through the eyes of children. Through the example of exploring children’s experiences in nature, a methodological approach to capture children’s experiences is explored. Multiple methods, including conversation, observation, artefacts and audio visual technologies are explored as ways to capture children’s perspectives. The findings will contribute to both the research literature itself, as well as scholarly conversations to reimagine possibilities and examine the potential of educational research with children. This paper will report on the learning that the project will cultivate and provide opportunities to open the dialogue about the usefulness of the proposed research, and the extent to which it will contribute to ECEC effectiveness and improvement. The scope of this paper allows for a better understanding of what is occurring at present in research with young children, and reimagines the future by identifying synergies and responding to new opportunities. Illuminating children’s voices is necessary to enhancing equity, quality and sustainability from the early years and beyond. Results of the impending research project will have the potential to effect the improvement of ECEC practice in the future, by providing educators with a better understanding of children’s experiences to best respond to their needs and perspectives. The research will add new voice to the existing conversation about the use of nature within early childhood education, offering practical strategies for ensuring authentic representation of young children. Further to this, children’s universal rights to participate and have voice (UNCRC, 1989) will be honoured, effecting their sense of identity and value.

Keywordsresearch; young children's involvement; educational equality
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390407. Inclusive education
390302. Early childhood education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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