Consulting young children about barriers and supports to learning
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: From consideration of children's rights in general and equal opportunities for disabled children in particular, it is important to consult children about barriers and supports to learning and participation. Finding appropriate and feasible ways, however, to incorporate this into educational programmes for younger children can present challenges. Here we report on what happened when teachers from reception classes in England for children aged 4-5 years implemented activities designed to access pupils' views about what helps or hinders at school. Teachers evaluated the feasibility and usefulness of the activities and, together with a small sample of children's responses, this showed that young children could indeed identify aspects of school life they like or dislike, laying the foundations for identifying barriers and supports to learning. Teachers' responses highlighted the importance of careful choice of activity to meet the needs of young children, particularly those with communication difficulties and/or low self-confidence, with staff in some cases adapting and merging activities to suit pupils' needs. Sensitive issues emerged concerning the introduction of consultation activities early in children's school careers. The implications of a compliant rather than collaborative approach by teachers are discussed in the context of children's right to have their views heard, and their developing understanding of difference.
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Education Systems not elsewhere classified