Researching Children's Empowerment

The Empowerment Framework emphasises the vital place of play in children’s development. It focuses on three main themes: participation, ownership and voice, and enables you to recognise indictors of empowerment and how to record quality observations based on the framework. 

The Empowerment Framework offers an understanding of the importance of children encountering empowering experiences through everyday play. The framework provides insights into play patterns and the ways in which you can identify these. The framework draws attention to: 

  • The research context for empowerment in play. 
  • The significance of play and empowerment in the lives of children. 
  • The power play can have, and indicators of empowering behaviour. 
  • Observing empowerment in play and the challenges of celebrating it. 

The Framework supports you to transform how you understand and engage with children’s experiences and learning, channelling your observations through an empowerment lens to focus on what children can do and how they can build those interests.

TACTYC Occassional Paper

This ethnographic study explores indicators of empowerment in child-initiated social play, based on case study analysis of 7 children, following them in different play contexts. The research consisted of non-participant video observations; semi-structured interviews and talking with children about their play preferences. Drawing on different views from parents and colleagues who know the children, a layered picture is revealed, not only of the complex nature of play and empowerment, but also the significance of individual values and beliefs about the importance of play. A questioning approach provides a platform for exploring children’s social worlds, and the empowerment framework enables a way in which educators can examine the intricacies of children’s play, the connections they make and why empowerment in play is important for children’s learning, development and social relationships.

The book!

Chapters include:

Chapter 1 The Context of Researching Children’s Empowerment in Play

Chapter 2 The Significance of Play and Empowerment in Young Children’s Lives

Chapter 3 The Power of Play

Chapter 4 Indicators of Empowering Play Behaviour

Chapter 5 Exploring Children’s Participation, Voice and Ownership through Play

Chapter 6 Observing Empowerment in Play

Chapter 7 The Challenges of Celebrating Empowerment in Play

Implementing an Empowerment Framework

This paper examines implementing a unique way of observing children’s play through an empowerment framework; considering children’s choices, decisions, and interactions through an empowerment lens. The study considers the different ways children are empowered through their play environments using participation, voice, and ownership as three guiding themes and the challenges of recording children’s empowerment for practitioners. Five nested case studies in two different UK-based childcare environments form the basis of the research. Thematic analysis scrutinised the data that were generated from observations of children’s play, interviews with practitioners and a focus group with both settings. A phenomenological theoretical framing allowed a layered picture of empowerment to emerge.

Working with Interactive Learning Diary

Natalie has partnered with Interactive Learning Diary (ILD) a digital platform providing Early Childhood professionals with the ability to record children's learning and development. Natalie's Empowerment Framework has been added to ILD's functionality enabling educators to make observations through an empowerment lens. It is available nationwide  to all ILD subscribers.