Pathway to Participation: The Dilemma in Early Years Education Learning Environments in Kenya

  • Odundo Paul Amolloh Department of Educational Communication, Technology and Pedagogical Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya, P. O. Box 30197
  • Ganira Khavugwi Lilian Department of Educational Communication, Technology and Pedagogical Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya, P. O. Box 30197
Keywords: Learning environment, Participation, Pre-primary-schoolers, UNCRC, Viewpoints


Listening to what children say expand upon language, building vocabulary and background knowledge in social, political and economic world for effective communication. Article 12 of the CRC 1989 stresses the right to participation in decision-making processes, which influence choices taken by children for empowering sense of belonging and community cohesion.  However, too often children are denied opportunities for participation in decision-making and to exercise responsibility resulting to under democracy situations. In addition, there is limited understanding of children’s right to participate in matters affecting them in developing countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study sought to determine children’s; perceptions, preferences, interests, views and feelings concerning participation in pre-primary school learning environments in Kenya.  This was an exploratory case study, which relied on data sampled from pre-primary school children and teachers in selected schools in Kenya using probability and simple random sampling techniques. Anchored on recognition theory, the study determined that participation of children is scanty and in instances where it occurs, only at the implementation stage rather than the planning design. The study recommended the need for collaboration and sharing information among children, teachers, communities and government towards realization of children’s perception to what they say and in decision making.


Adawo, R., Odundo, P. A., Mwangi, J. K., & Lilian, G. K. (2016). Influence of Paralegal Medical Services on Children’s Right to Education in Kenya, A Case of Migori County. International Journal of Elementary Education, 5(3), 28.

Bouma, H. (2019). Taking the child’s perspective—exploring children’s needs and participation in the Dutch child protection system [Doctoral thesis]. University of Groningen.

Bouma, H., López, M. L., Knorth, E. J., & Grietens, H. (2018). Meaningful participation for children in the Dutch child protection system: A critical analysis of relevant provisions in policy documents. Child abuse & neglect, 79, 279-292.

Collins, T. M., (2016). A child’s right to participate: Implications for international child protection. The International Journal of Human Rights 21(1), 14–46.

Cudjoe, E., Uggerhøj, L., & Abdullah, A. (2020). “We are consultants, not collaborators”: Young people’s experiences with child protection meetings in Ghana. Children and Youth Services Review, 109, 104748.

Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process (1910), revised edition. Boston: Heath. DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2012.23047.

Diaz, C., Pert, H., & Thomas, N. (2018). ‘Just another person in the room’: Young people’s views on their participation in Child in Care Reviews. Adoption & Fostering, 42(4), 369-382.

Duncan, M. (2018). Participation in Child Protection: Theorizing Children’s Perspectives. Springer.

Can, E., & İnalhan, G. (2017). Having a voice, having a choice: Children’s Participation in Educational Space Design. The Design Journal, 20(sup1), S3238-S3251.

Fraser, N. & Honneth, A. (2003). Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-philosophical exchange. London: Verso.

Ganira K. L., 1Ila., W. O. O & Odundo, P. A. (2019). Perception of parents and teachers on practice of corporal punishment in primary schools in Rwanda: Focus on disciplinary processes. International Journal of Educational Policy Research and Review 6(4), pp. 112-123. Available online at

Ganira, K. L & Odundo, P. A. (2020). Influence of Pedagogical Content Knowledge on Teacher Trainee Professional Competency at University of Nairobi, Kenya. American Journal of Education and Learning. ISSN 2518-6647.10.20448/804.

Ganira, K. L. (2022) Education for Sustainable Development Pedagogy in Pre Primary Social Studies Curriculum in Kenya. Review of Literature. 3(3) (010-012)2022.

Ganira, K. L. (2022). Education for Sustainable Development Pedagogy in Pre-Primary Social Studies Curriculum in Kenya: Review of Literature. Journal La Edusci, 3(3), 69-80.

Ganira, K. L., Odundo, P. A & Mwanda, S. (2015). Influence of psychological needs on Participation of children aged 4-6 years with physical disability in Early Childhood Education classes in Starehe Division, Nairobi County, Kenya. Journal of Educational Research and Studies 3(2), pp. 30-40.

Ganira, K. L., Odundo, P. A., Gatumu, J. C & Muasya, N. J (2020). Stakeholders’ Support for Social Studies Curriculum and Enhancement of Responsibility among Learners in Early Years Education Centres in Nairobi City County, Kenya. Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies. 5 (2) pp 30-37: ISSN: 2575-498X.10.11648/j.tecs.20200502.13

Ganira, K. L., Odundo., P. A & Ngaruiya., B. (2015). Effects of Emotional Needs on Participation of Children Aged 4-6 with Learning Disability in Early Childhood Centers in Starehe Division, Nairobi County, Kenya. World Journal of Education, 5(3), pp 79-90. URL:

Honneth, A. (1995). The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied developmental science, 24(2), 97-140.

Lloyd, K., & Emerson, L. (2017). (Re) examining the relationship between children’s subjective wellbeing and their perceptions of participation rights. Child Indicators Research, 10(3), 591–608.

Lysaker O (2017). Democratic Recognition Struggle. Axel Honneth’s Radical Democracy.

Murray, J. (2019). Hearing young children’s voices. International Journal of Early Years Education, 27(1). 1-5.

Murray, J., & Cousens, D. (2020). Primary school children’s beliefs associating extra-curricular provision with non-cognitive skills and academic achievement. Education 3-13, 48(1), 37-53.

Odundo, P.A & Ganira, K.L. (2018). Communication in Authoritarian Parenting in Early Childhood Education Science Class in Homabay County, Kenya. Journal of Education and Development. 2(3) pp 23-35. L:

Odundo, P.A., & Ganira, K.L. (2017). Teacher Position in Spurring Value Based Education in Early Learning in Nairobi County, Kenya: Addressing Support of Values in School Environment. Journal of Education and Learning; 6(3): pp 194-203.DOI:10.5539/jel.v6n3p194

Odundo, P.A., Kinyua,G & Ganira, K.L. (2018). Adopting Value Creating Pedagogy and Problem Based learning in Kenya. World Journal of Educational Research 5(3). pp 269-287. 10.22158/wjer.v5n3p269.

Republic of Kenya, Ministry of Education, Sessional Paper NO. 1 of (2019). A Policy Framework for Reforming Education and Training for Sustainable Development in Kenya.

Seim, Sissel, & Tor Slettebø. (2017). Challenges of participation in child welfare. Utfordringer for barns deltakelse i barnevernet. European Journal of Social Work 20: 882–89. [CrossRef].

Sibei, E. K. (2018) Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceived Practice and Actual Classroom Practice in Relation to Traditional (Teacher-Centered) and Constructivist (Learner-Centered) Teaching . Journal of Education and Learning7(1); 2018 ISSN 1927-5250 E-ISSN 1927-5269 Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education. :

Skauge, B., Storhaug, A. S., & Marthinsen, E. (2021). The What, Why and How of Child Participation—A Review of the Conceptualization of “Child Participation” in Child Welfare. Social Sciences, 10(2), 54.

Stafford-Brizard, K. B. (2016). Building blocks for learning: A framework for comprehensive student development. Turnaround for Children, 1-16.

Taylor, C. (1994). Multiculturalism. In Multiculturalism. Princeton University Press.

Tisdall, E. K. M. (2017). Conceptualising children and young people’s participation: Examining vulnerability, social accountability and co-production. The International Journal of Human Rights, 21(1), 59-75.

Turnaround for Children. (2016). Classroom and Behavior Management (CBM) Unit Overview.

UNESCO (2016). School and Teaching Practices for the twenty-first century challenges. Lesson from the Asia-Pacific Region. ( Phase 1) Regional Synthesis Report.

United Nations. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child. Retrieved from

Wafa Said Mosleh & Henry Larsen (2020). Exploring the complexity of participation, CoDesign, DOI: 10.1080/15710882.2020.1789172.

Wyness, M. (2018). Children’s Participation: Definitions, Narratives and Disputes. In Theorising Childhood. Studies in Childhood and Youth. Edited by Baraldi Claudio and Tom Cockburn. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 100–10.

Yip, T. (2018). Ethnic/racial identity: A double-edged sword? Associations with discrimination and psychological outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(3), 170–175.

How to Cite
Amolloh, O. P., & Lilian, G. K. (2023). Pathway to Participation: The Dilemma in Early Years Education Learning Environments in Kenya. Journal La Edusci, 3(4), 136-148.