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Childrenʼs Rights and Education

International Perspectives

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Edited By Beth Blue Swadener, Laura Lundy, Janette Habashi and Natasha Blanchet-Cohen

This book compares ways in which children’s rights in, to, and through education, formal and informal, are viewed and implemented in a variety of social and political contexts, aiming to shed light on how policies and practices can improve equal access to high quality education in an environment which is respectful of children’s rights. Chapters focus on understanding the opportunities for and challenges of addressing children’s rights to participation and to inclusion. Authors draw from a variety of disciplines, including critical and cultural studies of childhood, and bring internationally comparative policy perspectives to share nuanced and contrasting examples of ways in which a rights-based approach to education might empower children and youth. The book deepens and complicates research on children’s education rights, and will contribute to courses in comparative education, childhood studies, education policy, and children’s rights.
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5 A Rights-Based Approach to Observing and Assessing Children in the Early Childhood Classroom

My Multiple Images of the Child

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CHAPTER FIVE

A Rights-Based Approach to Observing and Assessing Children in the Early Childhood Classroom

Kylie Smith

The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stated that children have the right to participate in decision making and to express their views about things that concern them. The United Nations General Comment No. 7, Implementing Child Rights in Early Childhood (2005), encouraged researchers, educators, and policymakers to seek the views of children under 5 years of age and to take these views seriously. While momentum is growing for this work with older children, there has been little work on what it means for children in their earliest years, particularly under 5 years of age.

This chapter will explore a rights-based approach to observation and assessment of children’s learning and development in early childhood education. A rights-based approach draws on the articles in the UNCRC (1989) as guiding principles to theory and practice. Using my case study from an Australian early childhood centre, the chapter will examine what happens when we, as teachers, ask children about learning and engagement from their perspective. I illustrate that children’s voices shine a different light on how we see and assess (and support) children, thus providing newer insights into the subjectivities of our gaze.

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