Hearing and acting with the voices of children in early childhood

by Penny Lawrence

07 Jun 2022
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
14 (pp. 77-90)

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Abstract: This article responds to David Archard’s (2020a) provocation paper ‘Hearing the child’s voice’ from the perspective of early childhood. The delineation of the age at which a child can form a view is the first thinking point. It questions how to value the views of children younger than eight, and presents multimodal dialogue as an important frontier for the enactment of the right to a view. Responsiveness is suggested rather than pre-determined delineation.

The second thinking point explores alternative perspectives to binary thinking: feelings can be conceptualised as not separate from thoughts. Voice can include emotional expression; and, when individual children form and express a view, they remain linked within relationships with others, and the world. The ‘in-between’ space where dialogical voicing occurs can be world-wide. The think piece contributes original ideas of young children’s voices as multimodal dialogues including more-than-human perspectives (such as the environment) beyond delineations.

Keywords: Voice, early childhood, dialogue, multimodal, more-than-human.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 8, supplementary issue 4 (Multidisciplinary perspectives on the child’s voice in public policy).

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