While transporting sand might have been perceived as the child’s right, in reality this was unrealistic because first, it was not acceptable to transport sand inside, and second, sand was a limited and costly resource. The locus of power in these situations was often shifted, like blame, to another party. Both physical and temporal dimensions directly affected children’s rights to exercise choices. Economic constraints also restricted children’s participation. There was either not enough space, it was nearly time for something else (provision rights issues), or the ratios of adults to children would not comply with regulations. Rational explanations as to why a child’s choice (a participation right) could not be exercised were the purview of adults, and generally, it was the adult right, enacted as a power that prevailed.
154 Again, these were examples of how provision rights and participation rights were linked closely with protection rights, illustrating how these were interwoven. Advocates for listening to the child: Protecting children’s rights to participate Listening to very young children (Alderson, 2000; Carr, 2003; Mitchell & Wild, 2004; Moss & Petrie, 2002; Prout & Hallett, 2003) aligns with Article 12 of UNCROC and requires adults to act as advocates: In a society that is not used to giving weight to the views of children of any age, we will need to be strong advocates in minute particulars if children without the voice of mature language users are to be listened to and taken account of. (Pugh & Rouse Sellack, 1996, p. 121) A focus on listening to the child – accessing the child’s voice – was apparent in teachers’ interactions with infants and toddlers. Infants’ vocalisations were accepted as communicative, and very often revolved around providing for their needs – food, sleep, nappy changes. Interpretative advocacy, especially with infants, required high-level responsiveness from the adults: We advocate for the child – they communicate their needs to us and we’ve got to be really aware of their needs, because they are so young. They communicate by crying and things like that, you know gestures I think we are all aware of it because at times we do talk about children’s rights. (Peta, Individual interview, Crèche) Teachers aspired to meet children’s needs and at the same time respect their rights; in this case, their rights to participate. Awareness of children’s rights and their proclaimed role as advocates required teachers to observe “the nuances of how [children] exhibit stress, or curiosity or anxiety, or pleasure in a manner which is congruent to their maturity” (Pugh & Rouse Sellack, 1996, p. 122). The interdependent nature of provision, participation, and protection rights is evident in the observation below: Harriet was feeding Sam (9 months) smiling and raising her eyebrows at him as she was telling me about the routines. Sam is reaching out and trying to grab the spoon. Quickly, Harriet finds him another spoon to use. ‘Do you want more? Can you do it? Yes, and now we are going to ring you mother, and tell her that you enjoyed that and tell her about giving you water in a cup.’
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