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Realising young children's rights: Researching conversations with rights respecting early childhood leaders

Butcher, Helen Elizabeth

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Abstract

Children in the UK have been rights bearing citizens since ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1991). Between 1996-2017 the Department of Education, published 5 iterations of a curriculum for children younger than statutory school age. Since 2006 compliance, of settings, with Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has been mandatory. National, and international, reports record low levels of well-being and increasing levels of mental distress amongst children in the UK. Since publication of UNCRC a range of research practices which respect young children’s agency have been developed. These, divergent, trajectories rest on competing discourses; children as agents, children as performers.


This professional study intertwines understanding rights respecting identities with the case for realising young children’s rights in early years settings. A catalyst for the research conversations was the author’s experience of rights disrespecting behaviours

whilst a pupil, teacher and lecturer. Alongside the substantive foci the study responds to two questions; an entreaty from Goodson and Ball (1981), to integrate, ‘the biographical with the situational‘ when researching teachers’ lives and Mannion’s query from 2007 what, exactly, is it that childhood researchers are supposed to do in their empirical studies? The response of this study has been to fashion research conversations focused on the development and enactment of early years leaders’ rights respecting praxes.


Set within an interpretative conceptual framework refining a respectful, responsive methodology was imperative. Following a practise interview research conversations provided an opportunity to two early years leaders to share formative experiences from their educational biographies to which they attribute the development of rights respecting values. Analysis of the conversations was undertaken using a bespoke, inductive process denoted by a metaphor of Egyptian rope-making. The rich, joint meaning making which characterised the conversations supported the value of integrating the biographical with the situational and indicated purposeful directions for supporting training, and qualified, early years educators in realising young children’s rights.

Thesis Type Thesis
APA6 Citation Butcher, H. E. Realising young children's rights: Researching conversations with rights respecting early childhood leaders. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://uwe-repository....ribe.com/output/1491158

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