Infants’ and toddlers’ rights in early childhood settings: Research perspectives informing pedagogical practice

Andi Salamon, Ioanna Palaiologou

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


Globally, early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings are increasingly influenced by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (United Nations, Convention on the Rights of the Child. United Nations, Geneva, 1989). The Convention emphasises that the best interests of the child is a central focus for actions and decisions concerning children. This includes the best interests of infants and toddlers. Enacting rights that emphasise children as participants in research and practices that involve them (Articles 3.3, 12, 13 and 36), has led to an exploration of methods and practices that support this aim. However, this chapter problematises the notion of participation in relation to infants and toddlers. Coming from UK and Australian perspectives (and experiences that have shaped the authors’ epistemological standpoints), the authors argue that participation with infants and toddlers might be an illusion. They also address some of the asymmetries of the rights of children under the age of three in ECEC. In this chapter, the authors discuss how participation can be conceptualised in practice and research with infants and toddlers at two levels. Firstly, axiologically, the discussion evolves around the core principles of participation and questions how these axioms can be understood in practice and research with infants and toddlers. Secondly, ontologically, the authors discuss the asymmetries of children’s rights in practice and research, and the role of participation. Finally, the chapter concludes by suggesting a changing in discourse, and makes the case that instead of focusing on how participation can be achieved with children under three in practice and research, the focus should be to achieve ethical praxis by acknowledging ethical permeability, relatability, Otherness and emotional capital.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication(Re)conceptualising children's rights in infant-toddler care and education
Subtitle of host publicationTransnational conversations
EditorsFrances Press, Sandra Cheeseman
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783031052187
ISBN (Print)9783031052170
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePolicy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations
ISSN (Print)2509-6680
ISSN (Electronic)2509-6699


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