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:

Light table(1) Reggio(1) Games(1) Leprechauns(1) Relaxation(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Mo Scéal(1) Touch(1) Breathing(2) Map(1) Visual Impairment(1) Maths(4) Awards 2019(1) Challenges(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Afghanistan(1) Shapes(1) Children(1) Vertical grouping(1) education(2) Trick or treat(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Professionalisation(4) Kids Own(1) Adoption(1) New Appointments(1) science(3) Mindfulness(2) Maynooth(1) Interests(1) Performing(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) ERASMUS+(3) role playing(1) Story(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Inter-generational(1) Obesity(1) food(1) Síolta(104) Whole Group(1) Thinking(1) Syria(1) Performance Management(1) AIM(2) emotions(2) Penguins(1) Human Resources(1) Teamwork(1) Siolta blog(2) Budget 2019(2) SPICE Framework(1) environments(1) Role play(1) Weather(1) Online(1) Academic Skills(1) Aistear(108) routine(2) Mantra(1) UN(1) Academics(1) Recycling(2) Twitter(1) Creative(1) Magda Gerber(1) dogs(1) babies(7) Advocacy(1) Love(2) learning(15) Wilenski(1) risk(2) Shoes(1) Training(2) Summer(1) Irish(1) INTO(1) Laughter(1) Culture(2) Thanks(1) Diversity(1) Independence(1) United Nations(1) Magic(1) Graduate(1) Policy(2) Budget 2018(1) Empathy(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Potential(1) Queues(1) Limerick(1) University(1) Childhood(1) Family wall(1) Administrative Burden(1) worries(1) San Minia(1) Nonverbal(1) Wrapping paper(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Trade Unions(1) Snack Time(1) Care routines(1) ICBN(1) Awards(2) maternity health(1) Leadership(1) Lego(2) ears(1) Affordability(1) Learning journals(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Facebook(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Drawing(2) Workforce(1) Sweets(1) reading(4) Valentine's Day(3) Exploring and Thinking(1) Community involvement(1) Mealtimes(1) Sleep(1) Interactions(2) Giraffe(2) Iceland(1) community(5) blog(28) Magnavacchi(1) Seas Suas(1) Motor neuron disease(1) value(1) communication(4) preschool(2) Sociodramatic play(1) Xbox(1) Appreciation(1) Arts(1) Maria Montessori(1) Italy(1) memories(1) Reggio Children Network(1) interacting(2) InspireMe.ie(1) grandchild(1) toddlers(3) christmas(8) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Arlene Forster(1) Home Corner(1) San Miniato(4) refugees(1) Montessori(2) Síolta QAP(1) journey(1) Awards 2018(3) ReCreate(2) DCYA(4) Iraq(1) bonds(1) Early Years Educators(2) Prexit(1) Halloween(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) European Project(1) Easter(1) Kerry(1) pets(1) Exploring(1) Brain(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) early years research(1) linc(1) Funding(1) Self Help Skills(1) early childhood educator(1) Autism(3) RTE Investigates(1) Study Trip(1) Health(1) Care-giving routines(1) Orla Kenny(1) risky play(2) play stories(1) Pobal(1) Sculptures(1) collaboration(1) Universal Design(2) AsIAm(1) outdoor space(3) Loss(1) Mayo(1) overhear(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) purpose(1) Behaviour(3) respect(5) National Pyjama Day(1) Builders(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Competent(1) Socioemotional development(1) Primary School(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) TRAP(1) Support(1) Buddies(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Mount Everest(1) Ceremony(1) College(1) Routines(1) Craft(1) IGL(1) Glitter(2) Dance(1) Horizon 2020(1) Self-regulation(1) PIP(1) Yoga(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Our Little Seed(1) Staff Motivation(1) Through the looking glass(1) EECERA 2016(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Engineers Week(2) CIT(1) Engineering(2) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Celebrations(4) story time(1) Window(1) Laugh(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Traffic Lights(1) CCTV(1) Sustainability(3) Favouritism(1) Social Skills(1) Wonder(1) Supernanny(1) Fantasy play(1) experience(1) Participation(1) Engagement(1) Interaction(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) conversations(1) Storytelling(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) MECPI(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Creativity(4) books(4) Rituals(1) Albert Einstein(1) Treasure Chest(1) Childcare(2) Arithmetic(1) Child mental health(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) research(6) Vietnam(1) CPD(1) curiosity(3) Investment(1) Technology(2) HR(1) Norway(2) Identity(5) Book Club(2) Buddy Bench(1) Art(6) baby room(1) Music(3) First 5 strategy(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Feeding(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Ariana Pucci(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) emotional environment(1) Degree(1) friendships(1) Snacks(1) Capable(1) educating(1) Thank you(1) Photographs(1) GDPR(1) Cork(1) Smiles(1) Line-ups(1) Confidence(1) Margy Whalley(1) Anxiety(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) listen(1) Recycle(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) mushrooms(1) Titles(1) Nutrition(1) Stress(2) risk assessment(1) Positivity(1) Eritrea(1) Settling in(4) Communications(1) Children's Rights(1) Body Language(1) Jenga(1) The Jelly King(1) First 5(1) Nuturing interactions(1) NCCA(2) Early Learning and Care(1) Cognitive development(1) curriculum(5) NAEYC(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Certificate(1) Wendy Lee(2) Reflective Practice(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) child-centred approach(1) ECEC(1) Trade union(1) Little Buddies(1) Research Seminar(1) Design(1) Inspirational(2) social media(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Exercise(1) Upcycling(1) under 3's(3) ECCE(6) Communicating(1) MA(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Educators(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Plastic(1) Workplace Relations(3) parents(5) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Treasure(1) Leargas(1) Bereavement(1) Exclusion(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Playschool(1) Scents(1) Gratitude(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) dining experiences(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Belonging(3) Qualifications(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Trigonometry(1) National Holiday(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Malaguzzi(1) Flowers(1) Oireachtas(1) Consent(1) UNCRC(1) Masterclass(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Fabric(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Party(1) Christmas Creativity(2) scéalta(25) Mixed age groups(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Traditions(2) animals(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Meal time(1) Meet the Members(1) Event Guide(1) National Awards 2018(2) STEM(2) Celebrate(1) Leaders in Practice(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Maynooth University(1) National Awards 2019(1) educarer(1) Gardening(1) Spiders(1) Imagination(3) Decisions(1) Playdough(1) Sport(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Change(1) eating(1) Well-Being(7) supportive environments(2) Death(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Employee(1) Impact(1) Biting(1) documentation(2) Mental Health(3) Self-Esteem(1) play(30) Maths Week(1) outdoor play(6) Confident(1) trust(3) Winter(1) Learning Story(1) Workplace well-being(1) Decision Making(1) dublin(2) Children's Research Network(1) Sustainable(1) Sequins(1) EM Standing(1) Frustrations(1) Kilkenny(1) meals(3) Running(1) budget(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Mathematicians(1) Mark Twain(1) Plants(1) feisty(1) Santa(2) Wesco(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Inclusion(3) Time Out(1) Learning Stories(7) Environment(2) Quality(4) dining(1) Patterns(1) Time(1) Japan(1) Grief(1) Learning Stories Award(3) transitions(10) Intention(1) Names(1) outdoors(3) UD(1) Scéalta Blog(84) Graduation(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Maternity Leave(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Mud kitchens(1) TOY Programme(1) development(8) stories(2) Family(1) Blocks(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Early Years(1) listening(1) Snakes(1) science week(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Pen green(1) RIE philosphy(1) Exit interview(1) Painting(1) Visitors(1) planning(1) relationships(15)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine