Examining opportunities for children to participate in formal early childhood music education

L Hietanen, A Sepp, H Ruismäki, Education in the North

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According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989), children’s participation in cultural life and arts is of utmost importance. The ideas of children’s equality and their right to participation are also emphasised in curricula and other policy programmes in many countries. Three decades after the signing of the CRC, however, there still appears to be a large gap between the policy programmes and their practical implementation in arts and culture education. Referring to previous findings in early childhood music research (Williams, 2018) and brain research (Tervaniemi, Tao and Huotilainen, 2018), the authors of this study—as both scholars and educators in music—investigate early childhood music education. This qualitative case study examines children’s opportunities for participation in early childhood music education in four European countries (Estonia, Finland, Greece and Iceland). The data were collected through interviews, utilising some previous literature (Black-Hawkins, 2010; CRC, 2013; Ruismäki and Juvonen, 2009). According to a content analysis, the policy programmes appear to emphasise children’s rights in music, but there are variations at the organisational level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020


  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • early childhood music education
  • participation
  • involvement
  • curriculum


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