In this chapter you will:
1. explore the key principles underlying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and their implications for young children's learning
2. consider why rights-based principles have been integrated into the documents that comprise the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care
3. reflect on the image of the child as a rights holder and the implications this has for teaching values, approaches and practices.
This chapter will draw on the key principles underlying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989) and research to position young children as dynamic and capable participants in the learning process. It will highlight the key rights-based general principles, policy directives and research studies that underscore the central importance of relationships and interactions between adults and children and the impact that they have for learning and teaching. Against this background, it will examine and profile policy directives, key rights-based principles and research studies that assist teachers to explore their role in promoting children's active participation in the learning process.
Repositioning young children as active social agents: Australian policy context
Teaching and learning in the early years is predicated on how we, as teachers, understand and construct the child as a learner. In this chapter, and indeed throughout this text, we put forward an image of the child as a holder of rights, and a competent learner from birth with the capacities to learn in and through her relationships with others. In this chapter, we will explore the principles embedded in the UNCRC that assist us to reflect on how we, as teachers, understand and construct children as competent learners and the implications this has for our teaching values, approaches and practices.
The UNCRC is a major international document that has shaped theoretical debates, policy and practice around young children (Cordero Arce, 2015; Woodhead, 2006). In Australia, the key principles underlying the UNCRC have been integrated into the documents that comprise the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (NQF), including national law and national regulations, the National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for children from birth to five years of age and the National Quality Standard (NQS).