Circle-time, Selfies, Friends, and Food: Researching Children’s Voices in Early Years Settings in the Young Knocknaheeny ABC Programme

This participatory research project aims to include the voices of young children involved with the Young Knocknaheeny Area Based Childhood Programme (YK). YK is a community-based prevention and early intervention programme which aims to measurably improve the lives of children and their caregivers living in the north Cork city areas of Knocknaheeny, Farranree, Churchfield, Gurranabraher, and residents of local regeneration areas also. Adopting a whole-community approach, YK aims to give every child the best possible start in life by: respectfully enhancing the skills and early childhood development knowledge of all parents, practitioners and services in the area; strengthening and enhancing all relationships and environments that
are important to every child’s early development; and, embedding systems and community change to support early childhood development and address childhood poverty. YK is delivered through inter-agency and partnership working and uses early intervention and evidence-based practices that are holistic in their approach to child development. YK uses a progressive, universal approach to intercept the cycle of poverty, and in so, to bring about lasting social change.

This research project will support YK’s ongoing process and outcome evaluations and it will build on the existing data generated by the programme. In particular, it will contribute to the programme’s Early Childhood Care and Education strategy, from which 700 children have benefitted to date, and the ongoing quality improvement measures implemented in this sector. This report will explore the use of visual participatory research methods with young children. These methods have been utilised to add young children’s voices to research on the impact of the quality improvement strategy implemented in seven early years’ (EY) settings involved in an early intervention project as part of YK.