Bibliographic Data Bases

Bibliographic Data Bases

The Bibliographic Data Bases bring together complete texts and abstracts of article, theses, and dissertations related to themes and projects in progress at CIESPI-PUC-Rio. They were constructed from an extensive scan of national and international academic writing. The entries organize the current theoretical and methodological debates on the Child and adolescent populations living in the situation of the streets in Brazil, Institutionalized youth populations, Child and youth participation in Latin America and Education in Early ChildhoodThe data bases have been designed to facilitate the search for and easy access to key texts and summaries as well as analyses of these materials by CIESPI staff.




CIESPI has a longstanding data base on the academic literature on children and adolescents living on the streets in Brazil. The bibliographic database was designed to facilitate search and allow quick access to texts and their syntheses, as well as to the analysis of the CIESPI research team, coordinated by Professor Irene Rizzini, from the Department of Social Work, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio/CIESPI). 

The database includes an in-depth analysis of academic writing identifying current trends and themes that were published from 2000 to 2020. We make available complete PDF texts and files of 74 articles and 78 theses and dissertations that deal with the research on children and adolescents in street situation in Brazil. The methodology used in this update was the same adopted during the first phase of the survey.


Click in the following link to access the bibliographic database for articles, dissertations and theses in Portuguese.



Overview of the Research

The database and the analyzes presented here are part of the research project “Public Policies and the Challenges of Implementation: analysis of the case of the policy of attendance to children and adolescents in street situation in Rio de Janeiro”, carried out with the support from FAPERJ (CNE, Cientista do Nosso Estado [Scientist of our State], 2014-2017; FAPERJ Ref. No. E-26/201.274/2014). The research analyzes the processes that facilitate or hinder the implementation of public policies focused on children and adolescents. 


The project also includes two other lines of inquiry:

- An analysis of trends in international academic literature from 2010 to 2015. The study focuses on international research in the project “Improving Opportunities for Children and Youth in the Streets and in Other Contexts of Vulnerability” with the support of the Oak Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland. 

- A brief study on the proposals for public policies and actions aimed at this population in Brazil and an analysis of the policies and actions underway in the city of Rio de Janeiro, based on the Policies for Children and Adolescents in Street Situation (Deliberation 763:2009, Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of Rio de Janeiro, CMDCA 2009). 



To carry out a survey of academic production on children and adolescents in the streets in Brazil, the initial stage was limited in scope. The research included texts published in Brazil between the years 2000 and 2015.

The surveyed database contained reliable information and a good coverage of the types of documents compatible with the research, namely articles, theses and dissertations. Initially, we selected descriptors to direct the searches then we consulted the portals Scielo, Lilacs and CAPES Bank of Theses and Dissertations. 

After a careful analysis we selected a total of 116 titles (61 articles and 55 theses and dissertations) to be included in the database using the following criteria: content, authorship, year and place of publication, references of the publications and authors analyzed and texts available for download in full.

Research on academic research is useful but it has limitations. One of them is the coverage of the research itself. It is not possible to the search all existing publications. Our search was restricted to what is available through public access.

Even though we carried out a thorough search, readjusting our search parameters according to the challenges encountered during data collection, we noted some limitations. The main one is related to the fact that bibliographic data portals do not provide texts from all academic journals in the country. Portals such as Scielo and Lilacs carry out a selection of this material with the purpose of assuring scientific quality of the texts, but exclude many other publications that offer important contributions. The same occurs with theses and dissertations banks that offer the material digitalized by some educational institutions, but not by all.

To respond to this particular challenge, we also carried out a search in the national Lattes Curriculum Database of those authors mentioned repeatedly in the bibliographies. We searched for bibliographic materials (articles, published/organized books and book chapters, guidelines and completed advisory of master's dissertations and doctoral theses) published in Portuguese between the years 2000 and 2015. This resulted in the analysis of twenty-one additional texts that were available for download. These texts were not quantified in the tables referring to the survey because they were found using a different methodology from the one originally used.

After screening and quantifying published texts, we read the material and cataloged by the following information: bibliographic references, abstracts, keywords, objective, type of research, period, methodology f or data collection, theoretical analysis framework, results, recommendations and observations/highlights. As for theses and dissertations, we chose to read abstracts and relevant segments except in cases where the contents were directly related to the main themes.  

Most of the research presented in theses and dissertations were published also as articles. This material was cataloged with the following data: bibliographic references, name of the advisor and co-advisor, abstract and keywords


Research Team

Coordination: Irene Rizzini (Professor at the Social Service Department at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and Director of the International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI) in association with PUC-Rio. 

Researcher: Renata Brasil (CIESPI/PUC-Rio)

Interns: Aline Rastelli (PIBIC/CNPq) and Julia de Castilho Ramos (FAPERJ).





The bibliographic database “Institutional care for children and adolescents” is part of the project “Street Children in Institutions”, coordinated by Professor Irene Rizzini, with support from FAPERJ (CNE, Cientista do Nosso Estado [Scientist of our State], 2017-2020; FAPERJ Ref. No. E-26/202.812/2017). The project aims to analyze institutional care services offered to children and adolescents in Brazil, focusing on the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The database includes the survey of academic research on institutional care for children and adolescents and a review of the literature based on an analysis of articles, dissertations and theses published in Brazil between 2000 and 2019. 



The database has just been updated to include texts published in Brazil between the years 2000 and 2021. Currently, we make available complete PDF texts and files of 234 articles and 326 theses and dissertations that deal with the research on institutional care for children and adolescents. The methodology used in this update was the same adopted during the first phase of the survey.


Click in the following link to access the bibliographic database for articles, dissertations and theses in Portuguese.




The first methodological stage consisted of defining a set of descriptors including the following terms: institutional care, shelter, institutionalization and care combined with the words child and adolescent. These keywords were searched in the databases Scielo, Lilacs, Capes Theses and Dissertations Database, Brazilian Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, Public Domain Portal, WorldCat and Capes Periodicals. The initial search resulted in over 3,000 titles. These texts were filtered after reading their abstracts, and this process resulted in a total of 181 articles and 317 theses and dissertations in line with the parameters established in the project.

After careful screening of the material, articles were cataloged with following information: bibliographic reference, abstract, keywords, objective, type of research, period, form of data collection, theoretical framework for analysis, results, recommendations and observations/highlights. Theses and dissertations included bibliographic references, name of the advisor and co-advisor, abstract and keywords. These methodological screens were used because of the large volume of studies identified and because a significant part of the research presented in theses and dissertations is published as articles. 

The data survey includes an analysis of academic research on institutional care for children and adolescents published in Brazil between the years 2000 and 2019. From the end of the 2000 decade, there is a large volume of publications related to the issue of institutional care. The Southeast region stands out in terms of the number of publications, followed by the South region. Most of the texts surveyed were published in journals related to the human and social sciences, but health and biological sciences also deserve mention. The amount and content of the production is vast and presents a diversity of data and analyses, highlighting topics such as: aspects of everyday life in institutions from the perspective of children, adolescents and professionals; analysis of protective measures; discussions focusing on the family; assessments on the functioning of institutions; and debates about the development of children and adolescents in an institutional environment.


Research Team

Coordination: Irene Rizzini (Professor at the Social Service Department at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and Director of the International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI) in association with PUC-Rio. 

Researcher: Renata Brasil (CIESPI/PUC-Rio)

Research Assistants: Helena Piombini and Caroline Araujo (CIESPI/PUC-Rio).

Interns: Mônica Regina de Almeida Figueiredo (PIBIC/CNPq), Hanna Azevedo Coelho (PIBIC/CNPq) and Letícia Cristina Ferreira da Silva (FAPERJ).



In 2022, the database Child and Youth Participation – Academic Production in Latin America (2005-2022) became a part of the project Citizen Participation: Child and Youth Population in Focus. Coordinated by professor Irene Rizzini and with the support of FAPERJ (CNE – Process n. E-26/201.113/2022) the project aims to analyze different aspects related to participation and protagonism of children, adolescents and young people in Brazil, with a particular emphasis on already existing initiatives in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The database began to be developed in 2016 and its main topic refers to the center´s multiple research projects and in action activities. The database was made possible due to a partnership between CIESPI/PUC-Rio and the then named Ryerson University now known as Toronto Metropolitan University (Canada). Previous updates were carried out by the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP network) involving universities from four countries: Brazil (PUC-Rio/CIESPI), Canada (Toronto Metropolitan University and McGill University), Scotland (University of Edinburgh) and South Africa (University of Cape Town) within the scope of the project “Monitoring child participation processes in child protection policies and programs in Canada and internationally”. 

In 2018, the partnership gave rise to another project enabling the continuity and updating of the research initiated within the scope of the Institutional Program for Internationalization at PUC-Rio, through the Department of Social Service and with the support of CAPES (CAPES-PRINT- Public Notice n. 41/2017). At that time, the survey of academic production included articles in Portuguese and Spanish published between 2005 and 2015. Still under development, this project aims to deepen the research and expand its scope, involving other national and international partnerships, especially in Latin America. To learn more about the project, click here.

We would like to highlight that CIESPI/PUC-Rio's participation in the International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership network (with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) remains an integral part of the project. In the current phase of the research, participants from various age groups including representatives of child and youth population are working together with the aim of understanding how intergenerational partnerships can contribute to transcending barriers to put into practice the rights of children, adolescents and young people. To learn more about the project, click here.

In 2023,  within the scope of the project “Citizen participation: child and youth population in focus” (with the support of FAPERJ) the bibliographic database receives its most recent update with an extended bibliographic survey up to and including 2022, contemplating the current Brazilian and Latin American academic production. The common link between the scholarly production is the systematization of concepts, definitions and theoretical-methodological contributions related to child and youth participation. We also carried out a broad review and improvement of the methodological parameters used throughout the research. To learn more about the project, click here



Methodological considerations

The first stage of the survey was carried out between 2016 and 2018 and consisted of identifying scholarly production on the subject available online and published between 2005 and 2015 in Portuguese and Spanish. Different combinations of keywords were used such as: participation, protagonism, protection, monitoring and evaluation, combined with terms related to childhood, adolescence and youth. Searches were carried out using online tools notably Google Scholar, which allows access to content from databases in different countries. Searches were also carried out on Capes Journal Portal, Scielo, WorldCat and other search sites in different Latin American countries, such as Latindex, Clase and Redalyc. With the aim of complementing the bibliographical research, specialists from ChildWatch International network were consulted and new titles were added, enriching the database. After a preliminary analysis of the material, 86 publications on child and youth participation aligned with the criteria were catalogued.

In 2020, a new search was carried out to update the bibliographic survey based on the same methodology, this time focusing on academic articles and incorporating texts published between 2015 and 2019. At this stage, 42 articles in Portuguese and 62 in Spanish were selected and cataloged, totaling 104 articles. Thus, the database then had 190 publications. 

More recently, in 2023 and within the scope of the project Citizen participation: child and youth population in focus (with the support of FAPERJ), the database underwent its most recent update which included a broad review of its methodological parameters, perfected over the course of the research and the incorporation of articles published until 2022. We have decided to better define the age group and established that the texts incorporated into the database should discuss the participation of children and adolescents. Articles referring to youth are only incorporated if they dealt with young adolescents (between 15-17 years old) or if they also made reference to participation during childhood or adolescence. We consider that the forms of participation vary greatly according to the different stages of youth.

We emphasize that in Brazil the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA) considers a person to be a child up to 12 years of age and an adolescent to be between 12 and 18 years of age. The National Youth Policy considers young people those aged between 15 and 29 years old. This is an international standard that is often used in Brazil. This gives us young-teenagers (15 to 17), young (18-24) and young adults (25-29). It is important to highlight, however, that the age group of the academic production researched is not always clearly defined and the use of the terms such as children, adolescents and young people can go beyond the limits of the concepts and regulations that define them.

Currently, the database has 207 articles in Portuguese and 153 in Spanish, a total of 360 academic publications available for download. Aware of the limits imposed by an international survey such as unequal access to international publications, we conclude that this survey offers an in-depth and broad sample of what has been published on the subject of child and youth participation in Brazil and in other Latin American countries. 

Notes on academic production 

In Brazil, and in Latin America in general, the issue of child and youth participation has been gaining relevance in recent years, which is reflected in the number and in-depth studies and research available. 

In Brazil, most publications on the subject are from the Southeast region with a particular emphasis on the state of São Paulo. We noticed gaps in some states, especially in the Northern region. One of the reasons is because research carried out in the region are published in journals from other states. Thus, despite the unequal geographic distribution of universities and research centers, the survey managed to incorporate studies carried out in almost all regions of the national territory. Eventual gaps reflect the limitations of access to existing production given that not all published materials are available in the most consulted online indexing portals. The main topics addressed in Brazilian research are: participation and social protagonism of children and adolescents; children's participation and protagonism in the school context; children's political participation; right to participation; participation and protagonism of children and adolescents in research; citizen participation; adult centrism; promotion of child and youth participation; and bibliographic reviews/state of the art.

A prominent theme is that of child and adolescent participation and protagonism in school contexts. In general terms, studies on the subject address participation and protagonism in learning processes and pedagogical planning through projects. We also identified works that carry out analysis of educational policies aimed at participation and protagonism, democratic school management based on student unions and other decision-making tools and/or evaluation of school management. Government programs and projects, such as the Brazilian Youth Parliament, social movements, political actions and cyber activism also appear as topics of interest. However, there are still few studies that discuss the participation and role of children and adolescents in public policy discussion and deliberation spaces, possibly because experiences of this type are still scarce in the country.


Regarding publications in Spanish, Colombia and Chile stand out as countries with the highest number of publications on child and youth participation. We were unable to locate studies produced in some countries in the region, possibly due to limitations of the search tools used and the reduced investment in research in countries such as Haiti and Honduras. The major topics addressed in Latin American research are: bibliographic reviews/state of the art; conceptual debates on participation/protagonism; agency; adult-centrism; citizen participation; Convention on the Rights of the Child; right to participation; participation in the school context, legal proceedings and participation in different city settings; and use of information technologies.


Once again, articles on participation and protagonism in schools were highlighted, including the involvement of children and adolescents in movements such as the occupations of schools that took place in Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Authors such as Ortiz, Parodi and Lelli (2020) and Juárez (2020) argue that to promote this type of participation it is essential to build democratic spaces which consider the interests of children and adolescents. Pires and Branco (2007) and Oliveira (2018) in Brazil highlights the need to reconsider the adult-centric logic in educational institutions.


The Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1989 and ratified by Brazil in September 1990, is one of the main international references for the promotion, defense and guarantee of the rights of the child and of the adolescent, including the right to participation. Article 12 reads: “1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. 2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law”.


In Brazil, the Statute of the Child and Adolescent of July 1990 reaffirms this right in Article 16 which provides “the right to freedom includes the following aspects: I – the right to come and go freely, to circulate freely in public and community spaces, with the exception of legal restrictions; II – the right to free opinion and expression; III – the right to free belief and religious worship; IV - the right to play, practice sports and have fun; V - the right to participate in family and community life without discrimination; VI - the right to participate in political life, as provided by law; VII - the right to seek refuge, help and guidance”.

Therefore, for more than three decades the importance of participation of children, adolescents and young people has been debated. But at the same time there are enormous barriers for this right to become effective (RIZZINI, 2018; ALMEIDA et al, 2023). In a recent survey developed by CIESPI/PUC-Rio in partnership with the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Youth for Unity, Voluntary Action, Fields of View and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (India), it has been identified that there is little space for participation of children and youth in public policy discussion and deliberation spheres. In the Brazilian study, carried out jointly with young people from the Youth Forum South Fluminense in Action (FJSFA) from Volta Redonda/RJ, the young people manifested their desire to participate: “but, for that, we need to be informed and trained on different topics and have guaranteed access to public spaces, including the right to speak and vote” (COUTO; RIZZINI; BUSH, 2022). To learn more about the project “Shaping Youth Futures Livelihood Options in Creating Inclusive Cities”, access.

Still in the Brazilian context, even in the Municipal Council for the Rights of the Child and Adolescent (CMDCA-Rio), the State Council for the Defense of the Child and Adolescent (CEDCA-Rio) and at the National Council for the Rights of the Child and Adolescent (CONANDA), initiatives related to participation are still scarce. It should be mentioned however that since 2013, Resolution n. 159 of September 4 “provides for the process of participation of children and adolescents in discussion spaces related to the rights of children and adolescents in accordance with Strategic Objective 6.1 of Axis 3 of the Ten-Year Plan for the Human Rights of Children and Adolescents – PNDDCA”. CONANDA has been seeking to encourage the participation of children and adolescents on councils focused on children’s and youth rights.

We have listed arguments in favor of increasing the participation of children, adolescents and young people in public life in the country, starting with the importance of recognizing and universalizing political rights. Several researchers emphasize that opening spaces and encouraging participation and protagonism by children and adolescents are the foundations for developing an awareness of citizenship, essential for democracy and for life in society (PÉREZ, 2008; CUSSIANÓVICH, 2013; PAVELIC; SALINAS, 2014).


When children's participation is fostered, we have greater possibilities of strengthening democratic principles that have often been questioned in recent times due to lack of confidence in institutional political systems, in Brazil and other countries. By offering civic tools and political knowledge to younger people it is more likely that they will become responsible citizens who share democratic principles (CABALLERO, 2008; PEÑA-OCHOA; CHÁVEZ-IBARRA; VERGARA, 2014). In addition, offering options for participation and intervention can promote or deepen feelings of belonging. The young people acquire roles and social agendas by participating not only in socialization processes but also by being able to reinvent the process (PAVEZ, 2012). Another reason that strengthens the importance to increase the participation of children, adolescents and young people refers to their protection against contexts of vulnerability. As explained by Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Jovens, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), when there is greater participation there are more spaces for children, adolescents and young people to express themselves in an active and critical way in the face of situations and norms that cross or legitimize violation of their rights (IIN, 2010).


However, this debate remains in the realm of rhetoric in most countries, especially when we consider an effective or protagonist participation of children, adolescents and young people that goes beyond the current limits of participatory methodologies but also builds strategies for them to exercise their citizenship, perceive themselves as subjects of human rights and have decision-making power.

We argue that it is necessary to know the alternatives for participation and think of strategies to enhance actors that give visibility to the demands of children, adolescents and young people, encouraging the inclusion of their perspectives in the design of public policies and in the planning and monitoring of existing and/or neglected regulations for the protection and promotion of rights. These are important strategies for an effective culture of rights. 


Bibliographical References

ALMEIDA, Lucas et al. Affecting change in different contexts: children’s participation in social and public policy dialogues in Brazil, Canada, and South Africa. A New Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation: Conversations for Transformational Change. London: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2023.

BRASIL. PRESIDÊNCIA DA REPÚBLICA. Lei nº 8.069, de 13 de julho de 1990. Dispõe sobre o Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente e dá outras providências. Disponível em:

BRASIL. CONSELHO NACIONAL DOS DIREITOS DA CRIANÇA E DO ADOLESCENTE (CONANDA). Resolução nº 159, de 04 de setembro de 2013. Dispõe sobre o processo de participação de crianças e adolescentes nos espaços de discussão relacionados aos direitos de crianças e adolescentes em conformidade com Objetivo Estratégico 6.1 do Eixo 3 do Plano Decenal dos Direitos Humanos de Crianças e Adolescentes – PNDDCA. Disponível em:

CABALLERO, Rafael. El derecho político a la participación y su relación con los derechos de la infancia. Tesis de maestría en Ciencias Políticas. México D.F.: Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, 2008.

COUTO, Renata M. B., RIZZINI, Irene, BUSH, Malcolm. Jovens em Ação: reflexões sobre participação social e inserção no mundo do trabalho. Rio de Janeiro: CIESPI, 2022.

CUSSIÁNOVICH, Alejandro. Protagonismo, participación y ciudadanía como componente de la educación y ejercicio de los derechos de la infancia. In: Cussiánovich A. (Ed) Historia del pensamiento social sobre la infancia. Lima: Universidad Mayor de San Marcos, 2013.

INSTITUTO INTERAMERICANO DEL NIÑO, LA NIÑA Y ADOLESCENTES (IIN). La participación de niños, niñas y adolescentes en las Américas, 2010. Disponível em: 20-anos-de-la-Convencion.pdf

JUÁREZ, Alejandro R. Adolescentes, formación ciudadana y participación una reflexión desde la escuela secundaria. Política y Cultura, n. 53, p. 131-153, 2020.

OLIVEIRA, Fabiana. A Criança e os Espaços Públicos: Reflexões acerca das implicações da participação infantil. Educação: Teoria e Prática, v. 28, n.57, jan- abril 2018.

ORGANIZAÇÃO DAS NAÇÕES UNIDAS (ONU). Convenção dos Direitos da Criança, 1989. Disponível em:

ORTIZ, Victoria S. A.; PARODI, Martina M. N.; LELI, Mariana B. El derecho a la participación: su incidencia en el aprendizaje crítico en estudiantes de Escuela Secundaria. Anuario Digital de Investigación Educativa, n. 3, p. 78-91, 2020.

PAVELIC, Mónica R.; SALINAS, Sylvia C. Deconstruyendo la noción de infancia asociada a ciudadanía y participación. Revista Internacional de Investigación en Ciencias Sociales, 10(1): 91–105, 2014.

PAVEZ, Iskra. Sociología de la infancia: las niñas y los niños como actores sociales. Revista de Sociología, n.27, p. 81-102, 2013.

PEÑA-OCHOA, Monica; CHÁVEZ-IBARRA, Paulina; VERGARA, Ana. Los niños como agentes políticos. Sociedade e Cultura 17(2): 291–300, 2014.

PÉREZ, Beatriz C. et al. Cidadania e participação social: um estudo com crianças no Rio de Janeiro. Psicologia & Sociedade 20(2): 181-191, 2008.

PIRES, Sérgio F. S.; BRANCO, Ângela U. Protagonismo Infantil: co-construindo significados em meio às práticas sociais. Paidéia 17(38): 311-320, 2007.

RIZZINI, Irene. O direito à participação de crianças e adolescentes em espaços públicos. 56º Congresso Internacional de Americanistas (ALAS). Universidade de Salamanca, Espanha, 2018.


Research Team

Coordination and research: Irene Rizzini (Professor at the Social Service Department at PUC-Rio and CIESPI Director) 

Research: Renata Mena Brasil do Couto; Mônica Figueiredo; Caroline Araujo

Intern: Priscila Alves (Bolsista PIBIC/CNPQ/DSS)

Collaborators: Carolina Terra (design); Mariana Menezes Neumann (translation); Jana Tabak, Eduarda Sampaio and Thaís de Carvalho (research).

Education in Early Childhood (2015-2021)


The bibliographic data base “Education in Early Childhood” is a product of the project Safe, Inclusive Participativa Pedagogy (SIPP): Improving Early Childhood Education. The project was developed with the support of the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and was coordinated by professor Kay Tisdall of the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. In Brazil, the project was coordinated by professor Irene Rizzini of the Department of Social Work at PUC-Rio and president of CIESPI at PUC-Rio. Other participating organizations are the University of Cape Town in South Africa, the University of Eswatini, and the University of Bethlehem in Palestine. The goal of the project is to contribute to debates, policies, and actions on the theme, enlarging the educational opportunities of young children living in contexts of vulnerability. 


Methodological considerations      

The first decision was to establish criteria for the selection of texts to be included in the data base. We chose to include Brazilian academic work, available online and published between 2015 and 2021. We concentrated our search on work in the two sites Periódicos da Capes and Scielo given their prominence as key research indexes in Brazil.      


Given the large volume of texts devoted to early education, we confined our search to articles related to formal education or those which treated early education as the first stage of basic education. For this reason, we excluded articles which dealt with non-school based education despite being aware of the educational potential of non-school based spaces such as homes, museums, outdoor areas, and health and social assistance organizations.  

We started the search with the descriptors early childhood and education which broadly cover the theme of the project. The Brazilian Framework Law for Early Childhood defines early education as the period which covers the first six years of life or seventy-months (Law 13.257 of 2016). 

Our initial scan produced 542 articles on education in early childhood by the criteria we established. After the exclusion of duplicate articles and careful consideration of the remaining articles we selected a total of 446 articles for this data base. 

A brief analysis of academic work on Early Childhood

References to the early years of life as a distinct social phenomenon can be encountered from the 18th century. However, studies about the institutionalization of the concept of early childhood appear in the 1990s and 2000s which are seen as decisive years for the understanding of this stage of life (PENN, 2011; TAG, 2012; WOTIPKA ET AL, 2017). 


This is also true in Brazil. (ROSEMBERG, 2009; SILVA, 2018; TERRA, 2021). It was in this period that early childhood began to creep into the national agenda receiving more attention from the academy, non-governmental and governmental organizations. An important result of this process was the passage of the Framework Law for Early Childhood (2016). 


Before this, struggles of social movements, the Federal Constitution of 1977, the Statute of the Child and the Adolescent (1990) and the Law of Guidelines and Bases (1996) were fundamental for understanding that early childhood education was a human right for young children (KRAMER, 2011). This recognition was also propelled by transformations in the capitalist economy and by the entry of women into the world of work. 

According to the 1996 law, early childhood education has as its goal, the full development of the child to the age of 5 in its physical, psychological, intellectual and social aspects supporting the actions of the family and the community. It was composed of early childhood learning centers for children up to three years old and preschool for those aged 4 and 5. While the provision of early childhood learning centers was deemed a duty of the state, basic education in preschool is obligatory. 


Looking at our collection of articles we can see that the debate intensified over time. The number of articles went from 18 in 2015, 48 in 2016, 69 in 2017, 98 in 2018, 84 in 2019, 69 in 2020 and 60 in 2021. We noticed a large increase after the passage of the Framework Law for Early Childhood in 2016. 


A number of themes emerge from the analysis. A majority of texts understand early childhood education as a place devoted to the development of young children. They touch on the history of education and the development of early childhood education as a right for children and families. Several authors point out the importance of the social struggles in this process, the impact of the National Plan for Education and the New Base for the National Common Curriculum. They also point to the creation of the right for access to early childhood education centers bearing mind the insufficient number of slots and the high demand for enrollment. 


The texts also point to using a Foucauldian perspective and the influence of such international organizations as UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank in Brazilian early childhood education. 


We also found a large number of articles that look at early childhood education from perspective of the training and performance of teachers. These include the themes of the knowledge and practices of teacher, the different roles they assume with the children, in school, and together with the families, and the status and profile of the profession. In respect to the last topic there is a debate about the dominance of women in the profession and the situation of the male teacher in early childhood education that deal with the importance of physical education for young children, methods and practices and its important for the development of young children. 


In the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of articles on physical education, and its methods and practices of pedagogy 


The theme of inclusion of children with disabilities and their access to school has been emphasized in recent years. The discussions include the place of such children in early childhood education and the need for pedagogical practices that stimulate the participation of those with learning difficulties. 


The importance of play and toys is another common theme. The importance of playfulness among the children and with their teachers, play as a right, as practical pedagogy and the importance of culture and training for life are included. Many of the articles use the theories of Lev Vygotsky to discuss this theme.  


Since the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic and the suspension of classes there have been articles on the topic including the policy responses and the challenges of remote teaching for children, parents and teachers.   



KRAMER, Sonia. Direitos da criança e projeto político-pedagógico de educação infantil. In: BAZÍLIO, Luiz Cavalieri; KRAMER, Sonia. Infância, educação e direitos humanos. 4. ed. São Paulo: Cortez, 2011, p. 59-92.

PENN, Helen. Travelling policies and global buzzwords: how international non-governmental organizations and charities spread the word about early childhood in the global south. Childhood, Trondheim, v. 18, n. 1, p. 94-113, feb. 2011.

 ROSEMBERG, Fúlvia. Crianças pequenas na agenda de políticas para a infância: representações sociais e tensões. In: PALACIOS, J.; CSTAÑEDA. E. (Org.). A Primeira Infância (0 a 6 anos) e seu futuro. Madri: Fundação Santillana, 2009, p. 49-62. 

SILVA, David Moisés Felismino da. A produção do cidadão: políticas públicas para a Primeira Infância no Brasil. 2018. 195 f. Dissertação (Mestrado) - Curso de Ciência Política, Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Universidade de São Paulo. Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2018.

TAG, Miriam. Universalizing Early Childhood: history, forms and logics. In: IMOH, Afua Twum-danso; AME, Robert (orgs.). Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and the Global. Londres: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. p. 34-55.

TERRA, Carolina. Construção social da Primeira Infância e sua priorização na agenda pública brasileira. Rio de Janeiro, 2021. 138p. Dissertação (Mestrado) - Departamento de Serviço Social. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2021.

WOTIPKA, Christine Min et al. The Worldwide Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Education, 1985–2010. American Journal Of Education, Chicago, v. 123, n. 2, p. 307-339, feb. 2017.

Read more about the publications of the project here.

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The CIESPI team:

Project coordination in Brazil: Professor Irene Rizzini, PUC-Rio and CIESPI president

Executive coordinator: Maria Cristina Bó

Coordination of the bibliographic data base: Irene Rizzini and Renata Mena Brasil do Couto

Researcher: Carolina Terra 

Support and partners in the project Safe, Inclusive Participativa Pedagogy (SIPP): Improving Early Childhood Education 

The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is gratefully acknowledged.