chapter  6
Challenges to participatory approaches in early years practice
Pages 13

This chapter explores practical approaches that empower children to become individual agents of their own learning. Whilst it is acknowledged that skilful early years practitioners co-construct the learning process (David, 2001), settings including Montessori schools have long held the belief that children are the masters of their own learning. We also recognise that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) addresses the need for children to engage in both child-initiated and adult-led play-based activities (DfE, 2012), using exemplars of reflexivity in practice to support sustained shared thinking (Sylva et al., 2006). We will examine the participatory approaches to children’s learning in two exemplary early years settings, both having achieved Ofsted outstanding judgements and who acknowledge the individual voices of children and the use of play as a necessary pedagogic tool for young children prior to the more formal didactic junior school years (Goouch, 2009). Bae’s (2009) recognition of whether children’s choice is considered or controlled by adults will be discussed and a

practical approach will be provided in an effort to promote consideration towards children’s participation within the early years environment.