Participation; Agency; Early childhood education; Luxembourg
[en] This paper presents the concepts of participation and child agency. According to the United Nations Human rights, children have the right to express their views, and their voices should be considered. This means for early childhood education (ECE), that children should be perceived as agents who actively participate in the daily life of the institution. Participation contributes to the development of children’s self-esteem, well-being, and self-efficacy (Correia et al., 2019). It is closely tied to agency which is the performative capacity to act with some autonomy and take position in relation to others (Almér, 2017). The theoretical frameworks draw on socio-cultural theories (Vygotsky, 1978) and theories of language socialization (Corsaro, 2018).
Several qualitative longitudinal studies have researched participation and children’s agentic behaviour in ECE institutions in Luxembourg. Data is collected after informed consent has been obtained from the participants, but the researchers maintained the children’s assent by ensuring that they felt comfortable during the observations. Our teams investigated children’s participation in language and literacy activities. Mortini (2021) conceptualized language-based agency on a continuum from “participatory” to “controlling”. Children at the participatory end used their entire semiotic repertoire to engage in activities while those at the “controlling end” changed their learning activities. Based on Corsaro (2005) we found that children enacted their agency by creatively reproducing strategies as well as languaging and literacy practices (Kirsch & Mortini, 2021). Given that children’s participation is closely related to their personal development, it is important that educators perceive children as actors in ECE institutions.
Research center :
Education & instruction
Author, co-author :
Kirsch, Claudine ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Humanities (DHUM)
External co-authors :
Researching children’s participation and agency in Luxembourg
Publication date :
30 August 2023
Event name :
Event organizer :
EECERA, Multilingual Childhoods SIG
Event place :
Event date :
By request :
References of the abstract :
Almér, E. 2017. Children’s beliefs about bilingualism and language use as expressed in child-adult conversations. Multilingua 36. 401-424.
Correia, C., Camilo, C., Aguiar, C., & Amaro, F. (2019). Children’s right to participate in early childhood education settings: A systematic review. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 76-88.
Corsaro, W. (2018). The sociology of childhood (5th ed.). Sage Publications.
Kirsch, C., & Mortini, S. (2021). Engaging in and creatively reproducing translanguaging practices with peers: a longitudinal study with three-year-olds in Luxembourg. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2021.1999387
Mortini, S. (2021) Emergent multilingual children’s agency within translanguaging practices with peers and practitioners in formal and non-formal early childhood education settings in Luxembourg. Doctoral thesis. University of Luxembourg: Esch Belval.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Focus Area :
FnR Project :
FNR9989225 - Developing Multilingual Pedagogies In Early Childhood Education, 2015 (01/05/2016-30/04/2019) - Claudine Kirsch