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Katarina Rengel

Some Theoretical Issues Concerning Children’s Participation in Preschools

Keywords: children, participation, childhood, institutionalization, decision-making, preschool

This paper provides a review of recent theoretical and empirical papers in which the conceptualization of childhood and children in contemporaneity is discussed and exemplified using the concept of children’s participation withininstitutionalized early childhood education context. Children’s participation is emphasized as one of the key characteristics of contemporary early childhood education in both theory and policies of child well-being and children’s rights, although these two start from very different conceptualizations of childhood and children. An examination of childhood practices reveals a dominance of the perspective of adults, in terms of limited opportunities for children’s participation in preschools. The identified discrepancies between theory, policy and practice of childhood indicate a necessity of further research on children’s perspectives about their everyday lives in preschools as a starting point for viewing children as competent social actors in the construction and determination of their own lives.


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