Listening to children

Cooper, Victoria and Kellett, Mary (2017). Listening to children. In: Moyles, Janet; Georgeson, Jan and Payler, Jane eds. Beginning Teaching, Beginning Learning in Early Years and Primary Education. Milton Keynes: McGraw Hill Education / Open University Press.



Listening to children is fundamental to early childhood education and encourages practitioners to reflect on the different ways in which children communicate their experiences. Participation, consultation and listening are terms frequently used to describe the active engagement of children in sharing their views on matters which influence their lives. Yet what do these terms mean and what are the implications for professional practice?

This chapter begins by questioning why listening to children is important and what the discourse around participation and consultation means within the context of early childhood education. Discussions are set against wider debates exploring the difficulties of engaging with silent, minority and hard to reach children and draws upon examples to illustrate different approaches that can be employed in KS1 and KS2 (3-11 years). This chapter acknowledges that there are many ways to listen, consult with and engage children which are central to developing supportive and inclusive learning environments for all children.

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