Giving Voice to Young Children Navigating Complex Life Challenges through a Strengths Approach

Angela Fenton, Linda Mahony

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


There are numerous experiences that may be traumatic for children such as abuse and neglect, natural disasters and life-threatening illness. Even though social and natural disasters are becoming increasingly prevalent, research investigating and offering practical advice to early childhood educators around supporting children during and after these events is limited. In this chapter we use a Strengths Approach as a framework to explore two vignettes illustrating how early childhood teachers listen to young children experiencing challenging events and respond by applying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In these vignettes, the early childhood educators listened to young children’s stories about parental separation and divorce, and child abuse and responded by prompting children to activate their own resources to enact positive change. This analysis adds to knowledge about how early childhood educators can listen to and give children a voice about sensitive life experiences that impact their lives. Educators and other professionals should recognise the multitude of ways in which children can communicate about sensitive topics, such as parental separation and divorce, and child abuse, and the myriad of ways for encouraging young children to have a voice and support enactment of the CRC and SDGs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly childhood voices in the lives of children, families, and professionals
EditorsLinda Mahony, Sharynne McLeod, Andi Salamon, Jenny Dwyer
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2024


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