I first began talking with children when I was a child. Their thoughts informed me and helped to trigger my imagination as my learning and development grew and took the directions that it did. As an early childhood educator, I continued to talk to children, about how they perceived the world and what they wanted and needed to learn. Fortunately, in my experiences as an early childhood teacher, curricular decision-making has been open enough to allow me, operating quietly in one classroom, to accommodate children’s voices. I am pleased that the Queensland Early Years Curriculum is written as a play-based, collaborative one that encourages children’s input into their learning. This is based on the Reggio Emilia and new sociology of childhood’s conceptualisation of the agentic child. The agentic child is capable and competent, learning and growing through interaction with others (Corsaro 1997). Within this construct, childhood has social standing of its own; children are positioned as ’being‘ rather than ’becoming‘ (James, Jenkins and Prout 1998). Gandini (1993, in QSA, 2006) states: ‘[c]hildren are strong, rich and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them’ (p. 10). Adults — such as teachers and parents — become co-learners who negotiate, challenge and guide while sharing power with children (Woodrow 1999). Research or any other relationship between adults and children is with children rather than about them. Power is negotiated between the researcher and child participants in data collection (Fasoli 2001). Children’s voices are given serious consideration (Sorin 2003).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/reesasorin/15/