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Child Perspectives and Children's Perspectives in Theory and Practice
International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development No. 2
Recent decades have seen a growing emphasis, in a number of professional contexts, on acknowledging and acting on the views of children. This trend was given added weight by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1990. Today, seeking the perspective of the child has become an essential process in all sorts of tasks, from framing new legislation to regulating professions. This book answers the fundamental question of what it is that constitutes a 'child perspective', and how this might differ from the perspectives of children themselves. The answers to such questions have important implications for building progressive and developmental adult-child relationships. However, theoretical and empirical treatments of child perspectives and children's perspectives are very diverse and idiosyncratic, and the standard reference work has yet to be written. Thus, this work is an attempt to fill the gap in the literature by searching for and defining key formulations of potential child perspectives within parts of the so-called 'new child paradigm'.
This has been derived from childhood sociology, contextual-relational developmental psychology, interpretative humanistic psychology and developmental pedagogy. The highly experienced authors develop a comprehensive professional child perspective paradigm that integrates recent theory and empirical child research. With its clear presentation of underlying theories and suggested applications, this book illustrates a child-oriented understanding of specific relevance to both child-care and preschool educational practice.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This book provides the reader with a rare example the application of academic wisdom to a problem of enormous complexity: how should we organize children's early education? The authors' approach is informed not only by a deep knowledge of developmental psychology, sociology, culture and history, but by deep involvement in educational practice as well. They advocate, and convincingly defend their advocacy of "developmental pedagogy" which "brings the act of learning together with the object of learning." This synthesis demands that one take as foundational the ways in which, and the conditions under which, children create meaning. It requires that pedagogues both take seriously children's perspectives and recognize that education is always a normative process, one saturated by un-cognized ideologies which are "like sand at a picnic - they get into everything." All those who seek to understand the relationships between society, human development, and education will profit from this book. It provides a wonderful tool for thinking about how to organize children's experience in the historically evolving crises of our times so that our grandchildren's grand children may have a human world into which they may develop. Michael Cole, University of California, San Diego, USA