Practices/8, New Zealand: Attentive Encounters: Infant and Toddler Participation in an Early Childhood Community

  • Iris DuhnEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 25)


This chapter provides a brief overview of relevant literature around infant and toddler participation to outline current understandings, and their possibilities and limitations, for very young children’s self-determination in early childhood education. Possibilities are further explored with the introduction of a research project in the context of New Zealand. Specifically, a brief encounter between a baby and an educator is described to argue that adults’ perception of babies’ capabilities both limit and open up possibilities for young children’s agency. In other words, the chapter encourages the view that often too much is assumed when it comes to very young children’s participation and self-determination. Admitting to uncertainty is possibly a way forward to enable unexpected encounters and surprising participation to emerge in pedagogical practice and research with babies and toddlers. Such an approach supports the unsettling of assumptions about very young children’s capabilities and opens spaces for less adult-centric understandings of babies and toddlers as learners.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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