Discourses/1, Australia: Whose Rights? The Child’s Right to Be Heard in the Context of the Family and the Early Childhood Service: An Australian Early Childhood Perspective

  • Fay HadleyEmail author
  • Elizabeth Rouse
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 25)


This chapter unpacks how children’s rights are positioned in Australian early childhood education services and asks readers to consider the rethinking of the child’s position within the current parent/teacher partnership discourse. Early childhood educators have a complex and multi-faceted responsibility in their work with children. Balancing the ever-increasing interconnecting network of policy frameworks, societal expectations of what a ‘good’ early education and care program looks like, parental expectations, anxieties and concerns and supporting all children’s rights to be heard creates potentially competing tensions. This chapter aims to support the educator in finding a balance between the child’s rights alongside that of family, community and broader societal influences, offering theoretical tool to reflect on whose voice(s) is/are heard and whose are silenced in their practice.


  1. Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. (2012). Guide to the national quality standard. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  2. Berthelsen, D., & Walker, S. (2008). Parents’ involvement in their children’s education. Family Matters, 79, 34–41.Google Scholar
  3. Blaiklock, K. (2013). What are children learning in early childhood education in New Zealand. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(2), 51–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, W., Thurman, S. K., & Pearl, L. F. (Eds.). (1993). Family-centered early intervention with infants & toddlers – Innovative cross-disciplinary approaches. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  6. Cantin, G., Plante, I., Coutu, S., & Brunson, L. (2012). Parent–caregiver relationships among beginning caregivers in Canada: A quantitative study. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(5), 265–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A., & Moss, P. (2011). Listening to young children: The Mosaic approach (2nd ed.). London: NCB.Google Scholar
  8. Committee on the Rights of the Child (2005) General Comment number 7.
  9. Commonwealth of Australia. (2009). Investing in the early years—A National Early Childhood Development Strategy. An initiative of the Council of Australian Governments. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.Google Scholar
  10. Cox, D. L., & Van Velsor, P. R. (2000). Use of the collaborative drawing technique in school counseling practicum: An illustration of family systems. Counselor Education and Supervision, 40(2), 141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dahlberg, G., & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and politics in early childhood education. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  12. Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (1999). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Postmodern perspectives. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  13. Davis, B., Torr, J., & Degotardi, S. (2015). Infants and toddlers: How visible are they in the early years learning framework? International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 9(1), 12. Scholar
  14. Department of Education Employment and Workforce Development. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming – The early years learning framework for Australia by Department of Education Employment and Workplace Development. Canberra: Commonwealth Government of Australia.Google Scholar
  15. Dunst, C. J., & Dempsey, I. (2007). Family-professional partnerships and parenting competence, confidence, and enjoyment. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 54(3), 305–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunst, C., Trivette, C., & Deal, A. (1988). Enabling and empowering families – Principles and guidelines for practice. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.Google Scholar
  17. Early Childhood Australia. (2016). Code of ethics. Deakin: Early Childhood Australia.Google Scholar
  18. Emerson, L., Fear, J., Fox, S., & Sanders, E. (2012). Parental engagement in learning and schooling: Lessons from research. A report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau. Canberra: Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.Google Scholar
  19. Espe-Sherwindt, M. (2008). Family-centred practice: Collaboration, competency and evidence. Support for Learning, 23, 136–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hadley, F., & Rouse, L. (2018). The family Centre partnership disconnect: Creating reciprocity. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood., 19(1), 48–62. Scholar
  21. Harris, P., & Manatakis, H. (2013). Young children’s voices about their local communities. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(3), 68–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hayden, J., & Macdonald, J. J. (2001). Community centred childcare: A new answer to ‘who benefits’? Australian Research in Early Childhood Education, 8(1), 23–32.Google Scholar
  23. Keen, D. (2007). Parents, families, and partnerships: Issues and considerations. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 54(3), 339–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Law, M. C. (1998). Family centred assessment and intervention in pediatric rehabilitation. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  25. Millei, Z., & Jones, A. (2014). The Australian early childhood curriculum and a cosmopolitan imaginary. International Journal of Early Childhood, 46(1), 63–79. Scholar
  26. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Odom, S. L. K., Viztum, J., Wolery, R., Lieber, J., Sandall, S., Hanson, M. J., Beckman, P., Schwartz, I., & Horn, E. (2004). Preschool inclusion in the United States: A review of research from an ecological systems perspective. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 4, 17–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2006). Starting strong II: Early childhood education and care. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  29. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2012). Starting strong III- a quality toolbox for early childhood education and care. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  30. Özdemir, S. (2007). A paradigm shift in early intervention services: From child centredness to family centredness. Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Dergisi, 47(2), 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Palmer, S. D., Summers, J. A., Brotherson, M. J., Erwin, E. J., Maude, S. P., Stroup-Rentier, V., Wu, H., Peck, N. F., Zheng, Y., Weigel, C. J., Chu, S. Y., McGrath, G. S., & Haines, S. J. (2012). Foundations for self-determination in early childhood: An inclusive model for children with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 33(1), 38–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Powell, D. R., Son, S.-H., File, N., & San Juan, R. R. (2010). Parent -school relationships and children’s academic and social outcomes in public school pre-kindergarten. Journal of School Psychology, 48(4), 269–292. Scholar
  33. Rouse, E. (2014). Effective family partnerships in early childhood education and care: An investigation of the nature of interactions between educators and parents. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Australia: Victoria University.Google Scholar
  34. Sumsion, J., & Grieshaber, S. (2012). Pursuing better childhoods and futures through curriculum: Utopian visions in the development of Australia’s early years learning framework. Global Studies of Childhood, 2(3), 230–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sumsion, J., Barnes, S., Cheeseman, S., Harrison, L., Kennedy, A., & Stonehouse, A. (2009). Insider perspectives on developing belonging, being & becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Swick, K. J., & Williams, R. D. (2006). An analysis of Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological perspective for early childhood educators: Implications for working with families experiencing stress. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(5), 371–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blachford, I., & Taggart, B. (2004). The effective provision of preschool education (EPPE) Project: Final Report. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  38. The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2012). Starting well. Benchmarking early education across the world.pdf. Retrieved from London, UK.Google Scholar
  39. Topor, D. R., Keane, S. P., Shelton, L., & Calkins, S. D. (2010). Parent involvement and student academic performance: A multiple mediational analysis. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 38(3), 183–197. Scholar
  40. Turnbull, A. P., & Blue-Banning, M. (1999). From parent education to partnership education: A call for a transformed focus. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 19(3), 164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. UN General Assembly. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child (United Nations, treaty series) (Vol. 1577).Google Scholar
  42. Weiss, H., Kreider, H., Lopez, M. E., & Chatman, C. M. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing educators to involve families. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

Personalised recommendations