The Guiding Principles of Participation: Infant, Toddler Groups and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
The above quote by Dewey, from his book Democracy and Education, describes his view of the formation of the mind which he saw as a social process. Like Vygotsky (1978) Dewey considered that individual development was dependent on social relations and cultural context, while at the same time society gained meaning through its members. However, subjective experience was extremely important and had the potential to change the society. Education can therefore be seen as social participation and provides experiences based on the culture of the group and for infants their participation would be predicated on social images of infancy. Recent emphases on rights for the very young (Ize-Charrin, 2006) and participatory learning (Berthelsen & Brownlee, 2006) have the potential to increase our understanding of children as protagonists in their own development and to promote group care settings that respect and implement participation and reciprocity within practices and relationships.