Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Listening to Children: Children’s Perspectives on Quality

By: KAREN CREMINS

Friday 28 April 2017

Whilst researching the topic “Quality in ECEC” as part of my Degree in Early Years Studies, it became apparent that there were a lot of opinions (from adults!) on what quality in an early years setting looked like. However, I was interested in what the preschool child’s perspective was on quality in an early years’ service. Therefore, I decided to base my thesis on two research questions; What do children perceive to be quality in an Irish preschool setting? And how can we include children in research?



Research shows that early years settings that have a ‘listening culture’ enable young children to share their views and experiences. Consequently, to gain the children’s perspectives on quality, I used an adaptation of the Mosaic Approach (Clark and Moss, 2001), which is a framework for listening to children and including the ‘voice’ of the child.

The methods used to collect the data for my study included; Unstructured Interviews, Photographic Tours and Photographic Elicitation. During the unstructured interviews, the children were asked “If you had three wishes, what would your preschool be like?”. In addition, each child was given a digital camera to take photographs of the things they liked most in the preschool environment. The photographs were then downloaded onto an iPad and the children were asked to explain why they took the photo. Direct quotes from the children were used to record the children’s responses to questions during interviews.



Whilst analysing the data, using the Constant Comparative Method, aspects of what children considered to be high quality characteristics of a preschool began to emerge. These included: Free Choice; Play; Creativity; Relationships; The Environment, Learning (‘Work’), Rules and Other. To give ‘voice’ to the children and deepen the readers understanding, the findings were presented using direct quotes from the children. The findings reported, not only show that children can contribute their own viewpoints on important matters such as quality, but can feel empowered by the process. In addition, although these methods were used as part of a research study, the great thing is, they can be used in services everyday as a method of including children and listening to their views. “Learning Stories” can be created using the children’s photographs and quotes and can be shared with the children’s parents.

Below are some of the children’s quotes taken from my research

“My would do no work, just play all day long.”
(Orla, age 3)
“I would have lots of flowers and tress to climb and muck, yes muck to play in.”
(Owen, age 5)
“I would have no door and then if we want to go outside and play in the garden, we can just walk out.”
(Henry, age 4)
“If the kids wanted to go to Circle Time, I would say ‘come to Circle’ but if they want to play or do work, I would say ‘you don’t have to come to circle’”
(Josh, age 4)
“I would like to have no teachers, so we could do whatever we want. No actually, then kids might wreck things. No, we need teachers for the rules, I would actually put teachers in my school.”
(John, age 5)
Finally, it is a comment from a child who took part in my study that encapsulates the importance of listening to children
“Listen to me, I am a kid, I know what my preschool should be like.”
(John, age 5)




Biography

Karen Cremins is an owner of and preschool teacher at Little Hands Montessori in Lucan. Last year she completed a Degree in Early Years Studies.

2 comments Comments

2 Responses

  1. Bernadette Donnelly says:

    Children’s opinions are valued. The innocents of the comments made by the children is what we experience each day. They do have a voice and what they say matters. To show that we listen to what they have to say in this instance even in relation to making rules means that they will be comfortable to talk to us when it matters most if they are in trouble.

  2. Donna Farrell says:

    I love the idea of making learning stories from the children’s photos. This is an activity I know my preschool class would enjoy. I think the children’s quotes are lovely, it gives me an idea to pin these to artwork etc, sometimes when parents come into the room they struggle to start up a conversation with their little one about the artwork, these quotes could be a conversation starter for children and parents.

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

story time(2) Jenga(1) Spiders(1) Map(1) Awards(2) Art(6) Traffic Lights(1) early years learning(1) Certificate(1) Italy(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Sculptures(1) Thinking(1) Self-Esteem(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) listening(1) ECEC(2) Mathematicians(1) Ceremony(1) Wilenski(1) listen(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) DES Inspection(1) Children's Rights(3) Identity(5) Frosty the Snowman(1) Arts(1) Role play(1) Mark Twain(1) preschool settings(1) Traditions(2) early childhood educator(1) Graduation(1) animals(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Child mental health(1) Academic Skills(1) Change(1) Kids Own(1) food(1) Winter(1) Names(1) Time(1) child-centred approach(1) Exclusion(1) Care-giving routines(1) Easter(1) blog(28) Funding(1) code of professional responsibility(1) community(5) Children's Voice(1) Buddies(1) Recycle(1) Communications(1) science(3) ICBN(1) Biting(1) dublin(2) journey(1) christmas(9) play stories(1) Design(1) Through the looking glass(1) Book Review(1) Prexit(1) European Project(1) Treasure Chest(1) Eritrea(1) dining(1) Leargas(1) Visual Impairment(1) Research Seminar(1) Community involvement(1) Social Skills(1) babies(7) Appreciation(1) Fabric(1) Builders(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Halloween(2) Plastic(1) Vietnam(1) research(6) Grief(1) Arithmetic(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Queues(1) Advocacy(1) Painting(1) STEM(3) New Appointments(1) Childhood(1) Self Help Skills(1) Policy(2) Thank you(1) Empathy(1) Learning Story(1) Maternity Leave(1) Budget 2019(2) National Holiday(1) emotions(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Competent(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Body Language(1) baby room(1) Line-ups(1) Settling in(4) supportive environments(2) feisty(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Degree(1) under 3's(3) Children(3) routine(2) Learning Journal(1) purpose(1) Irish(1) environments(1) Maria Montessori(1) EECERA 2016(1) ECCE(7) St. Patrick's Day(1) Iceland(1) experience(1) worries(1) parents(6) Iraq(1) ECEC Setting(1) Gardening(1) Well-Being(9) Confident(1) Kerry(1) Home Corner(1) Learning Stories Award(3) code of ethics(1) documentation(3) Learning journals(1) Mealtimes(1) Imagination(3) Scents(1) transitions(10) Intention(1) Trigonometry(1) Socioemotional development(1) Facebook(1) play(32) Performance Management(1) eating(1) Educators(2) Magic(1) Our Little Seed(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Norway(2) Communicating(1) Infectious diseases(1) Nuturing interactions(1) E.coli(1) behavioural science(1) man up(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Wesco(1) Magda Gerber(1) reading(5) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Mount Everest(1) Inspections(1) Trade Unions(1) San Miniato(4) Pen green(1) Quality(4) risk assessment(1) curiosity(3) Scéalta Blog(93) Primary School(2) outdoor play(6) Engineers Week(2) Budget 2020(1) Twitter(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) RTE Investigates(1) Mayo(1) mushrooms(1) MA(1) memories(1) Smiles(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) communication(4) Belonging(3) Mantra(1) Photographs(1) Gratitude(1) University(1) INTO(1) NCCA(3) Malaguzzi(1) Titles(1) Budget 2018(1) Exploring(1) Fee Play(1) dining experiences(1) outdoor space(3) Sleep(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Event Guide(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Blocks(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Thanks(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Reggio Children Network(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Awards 2019(1) Laugh(1) Consent(1) Reggio(1) Health(2) Loss(1) awards 2020(1) Awards 2018(3) education(2) Pobal sector profile(1) Afghanistan(1) Maths(5) Light table(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Albert Einstein(1) Feeding(1) relationships(17) Flowers(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Running(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) UD(1) Orla Kenny(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Inter-generational(2) Syria(1) Japan(1) Vertical grouping(1) Nonverbal(1) Inspirational(2) Confidence(1) Sequins(1) Training(2) Human Resources(1) Positivity(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Administrative Burden(1) TRAP(1) toddlers(3) Sessional service(1) Workplace well-being(1) Celebrate(1) collaboration(1) Early Years(1) Exercise(1) life long learning(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Behaviour(3) Staff Motivation(1) Supernanny(1) Mental Health(3) Whole Group(1) role playing(1) gender bias(1) Hand Hygiene(1) Window(1) AIM(2) Childcare(2) CIT(1) Xbox(1) Inclusion(3) books(4) College(1) curriculum(5) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Music(3) PIP(1) Awards Night(1) Glitter(2) Building Resilience(1) Participation(2) Maths Week(1) Storytelling(4) Maynooth University(1) friendships(1) Mixed age groups(2) Book Club(2) Employee(1) Investment(2) Pobal(1) Autism(3) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Arlene Forster(1) grandchild(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) stories(2) Rituals(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Mud kitchens(1) pets(1) Sweets(1) Culture(2) learning(19) ReCreate(2) social media(1) Kilkenny(1) Laughter(1) Digital Devices(1) Affordability(1) RIE philosphy(1) Academics(1) Mo Scéal(1) Leprechauns(1) Family wall(1) Penguins(1) DCYA(4) Aistear(115) Workforce(1) Document Learning(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Brain(1) Síolta QAP(1) Snakes(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Diversity(1) Graduate(1) Snacks(1) emotional environment(1) EM Standing(1) Interaction(1) dogs(1) Stress(2) Decision Making(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Síolta(108) Interests(1) Trick or treat(1) preschool(3) Anxiety(2) aistear blog(2) overhear(1) linc(1) Bereavement(2) Frustrations(1) Family(1) Sport(1) Meal time(1) Wendy Lee(3) United Nations(1) educarer(1) Relaxation(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) ears(1) Visitors(1) Summer(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) research submissions(1) Capable(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Trade union(1) Workplace Relations(3) Treasure(1) learning bias(1) respect(5) trust(3) Annual Conference 2019(1) Touch(1) Party(1) Valentine's Day(3) Breathing(2) MECPI(1) SPICE Framework(1) Weather(1) Favouritism(1) Obesity(1) Rich Documentation(1) Independence(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Environment(2) Adoption(1) risky play(2) refugees(1) UN(1) Maynooth(1) Dance(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Siolta blog(6) Engagement(1) Magnavacchi(1) Limerick(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Creativity(4) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Learning Stories(9) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) UNCRC(1) Santa(2) Care routines(1) Universal Design(2) science week(2) Seas Suas(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Infection Control(1) Upcycling(1) First 5 strategy(1) Support(1) educating(1) Wonder(1) Digital(1) Games(1) Recycling(2) Performing(1) Cognitive development(1) Children and families(1) planning(1) Qualifications(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Time Out(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Shapes(1) Little Buddies(1) Buddy Bench(1) Engineering(3) Self-regulation(1) development(8) Growing up Outdoors(1) Challenges(1) risk(2) Plants(1) Reflective Practice(1) Sustainable(1) Death(2) outdoors(3) Celebrations(4) Playschool(1) GDPR(1) scéalta(29) Masterclass(2) Decisions(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Wrapping paper(1) value(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Exit interview(1) Interactions(2) Love(2) Study Trip(1) Teamwork(1) Sociodramatic play(1) social science(1) Montessori(3) interacting(2) meals(3) gender stereotype(1) HR(1) maternity health(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Technology(3) School Age Childcare(1) Horizon 2020(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Leadership(1) Professionalisation(4) CPD(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Creative(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Meet the Members(1) Online(1) Routines(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) conversations(1) bonds(1) Yoga(1) Children's Research Network(1) IGL(1) Snack Time(1) Sustainability(3) NAEYC(1) Mindfulness(2) TOY Programme(1) Oireachtas(1) AsIAm(1) early years research(2) Patterns(1) Cork(1) Playdough(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Giraffe(2) Shoes(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Margy Whalley(1) Early Years Educators(3) budget(1) Impact(1) Story(1) First 5(1) ERASMUS+(3) Elders(1) Drawing(2) National Awards 2018(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Nutrition(1) Learning Story Awards(2) The Jelly King(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Craft(1) National Awards 2019(1) Fantasy play(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Lego(2) Inter-generational learning(2) Potential(1) CCTV(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine