Listening to young children: experts in their own lives

Clark, Alison and Statham, June (2005). Listening to young children: experts in their own lives. Adoption and Fostering, 29(1) pp. 45–56.



Most existing literature on children's participation has focused on their involvement in service planning, delivery and evaluation rather than on children's views of their own world, starting from their interests and concerns. Few studies have considered the views and experiences of young children (under five years old). One of the barriers to this work has been uncertainty about 'how to listen' to children at this age. Alison Clark and June Statham explore the Mosaic approach, a methodology for listening to young children that brings together verbal and visual tools to reveal young children's perspectives. The material produced by the children provides a platform for communication between adults and children. Examples are given from two research studies that took place in early childhood institutions in the UK. These illustrate how young children used cameras and participatory activities such as tours and map-making to highlight important people, places and events and to share their views with adults. The discussion focuses on the possible applications of this approach for young children who experience fostering and adoption, including the potential for young children to document and to communicate the important details of their present as well as pastlives.

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