2014, Volume 17, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy

Children's Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction as Curriculum

MFull© ChildForum

PDF copies of this article are available for personal use click here to go to the Store page 


nzrece journal

Full Reference
Fikriani, D. & Bone, J. (2014). Children's participation in disaster risk reduction as curriculum. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, 17, 35 - 50.


Original Policy and Research Paper

Children's Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction as Curriculum

Dian Fikriani* and Jane Bone**
* Gadjah Mada University Indonesia
**Monash University Australia



Children are always involved in disasters, both natural (fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunami) and man-made (wars and displacements of people). Informed by perspectives embedded within the sociology of childhood, the authors discuss what happened after a major earthquake in Indonesia. In this earthquake many people died or were seriously affected by this tragedy. The focus of this research is on the right of children to participate in matters that affect them through a strategy known as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Instead of waiting to deal with children as 'victims' of trauma or injury it is argued that children can work with educators to deal with disaster in a useful and proactive way. Teachers in Indonesia, who had themselves been affected by the earthquake, were asked to consider the possibility of including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as curriculum in their early childhood centre. We discuss how the notion of participation is interpreted in this specific context and ask what kind of policy agenda might support this recommendation for DRR to be included as curriculum in countries where disasters are experienced. 

Key words: Disaster risk reduction; early childhood curriculum; earthquake; tragedy.



This article draws on the social construction of childhood as a conceptual framework to seek understanding of child participation in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies through early childhood education (ECE). This approach supports child participation in events and recognises that teachers’ perceptions of what that will be like, reflects the traditions, culture and values of particular societies (King, 2007; Mayall, 2000).  In times of disaster it seems that children are often placed as victims rather than as active agents who are capable of taking the lead in disaster risk management (Martin, 2010; Tanner, 2010). Looking at many examples of the benefits of involving children in DRR strategies (Martin, 2010) provides an opportunity for people who work with young children to view children as participants and as people with agency. This article highlights the way ECE contexts may actualise the participation of children. Case studies in Indonesia are the main focus, and a connection is made with New Zealand because both countries have suffered a major earthquake in the past few years.

This case study research involved teachers from a disaster area in Indonesia.  They were asked to reflect on the possibility of involving children in DRR strategies as curriculum. Data generated in interviews with seven teachers from two early childhood centres enables their experiences to contribute to an understanding of child participation in the Indonesian context. The research used the theories of social construction and is framed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the final part of the article, we discuss child participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies in early childhood education and draw upon dialogues between teachers, children and families. The argument is made that early childhood education can play an important role in encouraging children to build resilience within their communities and this will support their involvement in DRR strategies.


Children’s rights in ECE

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a General Comment No. 7 in 2006 on implementing child rights in early childhood (CRC/C/GC/7/rev1). This document has been a political enforcement for policy makers and practitioners in ECE to interpret child rights in early childhood settings. However as Bae (2010) points out when the articles in the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and related documents are made universal, one has to consider local conditions and age-related aspects in the implementation of the document.

Several articles in the two documents above emphasise the right of children to be heard and to have the freedom to express their views in ways that are appropriate for their situation. The right to participate, in fact, is highlighted in the objectives of General Comment No.7 stating that:

To encourage recognition of young children as social actors from the beginning of life, with particular interests, capacities and vulnerabilities, and of requirements for protection, guidance and support in the exercise of their rights (OHCHR, 2005, p. 2).

Acknowledging a child’s right to participate in early childhood classrooms cannot be separated from other principles included in the General Comment No.7 (OHCHR, 2005) such as the right to life, survival and development. This aims to have a broad understanding of different rights in the documents to achieve the best interest of the child (Bae, 2010). Vulnerable children facing adversity such as those experiencing disasters are one of the groups intended to be aided by this right. The Committee specifically states that early childhood services should provide access to appropriate programmes that promote children’s well-being, including to the most vulnerable young children (OHCHR, 2005).

The linkage between these two principles in the General Comment No.7 on implementing child rights in early childhood is reflected in the concept of child-led disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. Child-led DRR strategies, as described by Martin (2010), are a framework whereby children have an important role in the preparedness, mitigation and prevention in disaster management with the support of adults. Realising child-led DRR strategies in ECE settings is a way of actualising the rights of children to participate and at the same time giving the protection needed for the children.


Resilience in community  

Early childhood education becomes central in educating children to prepare and react to disaster. This is addressed in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) for promoting DRR through schools to build a culture of safety and aiming to build resilience at all levels according to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Secretariat (UNISDR, 2005). Resilience becomes the underlying values in HFA to reduce vulnerabilities and risk to hazards. Resilience is defined as “the capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure…” (UNISDR, 2005, p. 4). Resilience also refers to adaptive behaviour in over-coming stressful events.

Clinton (2008) indicates that current resilience research has been greatly influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecological Systems Theory. This proposes that resilience is influenced by the interconnection of different components of the individual’s environment, such as, the family, school, and community as well as the social settings and cultural context. Bone (2008) also points out that understanding resilience as an individual trait might not be applicable to some cultural perspectives. Her work includes a Māori perspective on resilience as something that can be supported collectively. Early childhood education provides opportunities for promoting resilience as something that can be supported collectively through a whole-school approach and by providing social support and connectedness in daily life within these settings (Bone, 2008; Clinton, 2008; Rowling, 2008). Promoting children’s resilience to natural disasters may contribute to communities becoming resilient (Martin, 2010).

The concept of child-led DRR strategies is proven to have many benefits (Martin, 2010; Tanner, 2010), however, this strategy has not been widely practised. This may be because of the link with the position of children in the community and may also be due to the limited child-sensitive expertise of educators (Tanner, 2010). Although some organisations have applied this strategy, Martin (2010) argued that they might not include children in a complete participation process.


Sociology of childhood and child participation

The implementation of children’s rights in ECE takes into account the theories of social construction of childhood. Notions of both childhood and child participation reflect the particular context. This has been the view of defenders of the sociology of childhood. Childhood is believed to take form in various images (Jenks, 2005) influenced by historical, cultural, economic and social factors (James, Jenks & Prout, 1998). Childhood is a product of the interaction between the child and their socio-political sphere, which will be different across diverse geographical areas.

The sociology of childhood allows us to look at children as competent human beings, not as pre-people.  They belong to a social group and consequently, they have the right to participate and to construct their experiences (Mayall, 2000; King, 2007). This point of view enables us to look at children’s maturity to participate in society as this is understood according to their culture (Nsamenang, 2008). This also applies to the discussion about children’s contribution in DRR strategies in ECE. As elaborated by Tanner (2010), there is no universal formula in defining children’s participation in DRR strategies; quite the contrary, child participation requires a continuing dialogue to suit children’s situation and context.

To achieve the idea of child-led DRR strategies teachers must be involved.  They can support child participation in the ECE setting by listening to children’s voices and by taking what they say into account in all matters that affect them. This idea depends on the relationship between teacher and child, which, as pointed out by Rinaldi (2006), is often linked with the image of the child. The image of the child in turn creates the image of teachers that define their roles as educators and this contributes to the image of the school or ECE service (Filippini, 1998). These images are interrelated with constructions of children understood and conceptualized as produced by dominant discourse(s) of childhood (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2007).

In the historical analysis by Newberry (2010) on the changing image of the Indonesian child, the child was depicted in the New Order era (before 1998 or during the dictatorship of Soeharto) as being respectful and loyal to parents, who were considered to have higher authority, especially the father. Such an image, however, has changed as the dictatorship era comes to an end, and in the process, ECE in Indonesia has become the target of transnational initiatives in creating a global image of childhood. This has been imposed by the corporate strategy of education institutions and non-government organisations (NGOs) and reflects the middle-class desire to improve early childhood care as an aspect of the democratic agenda (Newberry, 2010). This global child is pictured as being empowered and capable of developing themselves as a result of the implementation of a child-centred approach in schools and in the family.

However, the statement above cannot be made general to all Indonesian children as they may have different contexts and cultures. Understanding this situation raises some problematic issues. Langford (2010) discusses problems connected with the idea of child-centred perspectives, such as, that children tend to be individualized, detaching them from their socio-cultural context. She argues that child-centred pedagogy instead should consider the authentic social relationship between the teacher, children, peers and broader community engaging in the co-construction of knowledge.

Komulainen’s (2007) argument enriches this discussion by proposing that we ought not to impose a ‘voice’ on child, but instead give alternative suggestion on what the idea of ‘voice’ may comprise. This is intended to avoid discrimination against different groups of people, even though the goal was to meet the needs and rights of children (Komulainen, 2007). This idea is also supported by Viruru (2001) who argues that language is often seen by children in some cultures as an obstacle to communication, and therefore it is essential for ECE practitioners to create a space for children to explore and use multiple forms of communication.

The research presented here concerns the experience of teachers supporting children’s involvement in DRR learning in rural Indonesian early childhood centres.  It provides evidence of how teachers work to create a balance between appreciating children as central to the learning process and the traditional beliefs about children’s position in society.


The setting

Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of more than 17,000 islands and 33 provinces.

 2014 NZRECE Journal Bone paper Figure 1

Map 1. Pacific Ring of Fire around the world and around Indonesia (USGS, 1999)


Located at the intersection of three tectonic plates (the Eurasian Plate, the Australian Plate, and the Pacific Ocean Plate) and circled by the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis (see Map 1). This is why James (2008) who conducted a study on developing early warning system in Indonesia called Indonesia a ‘supermarket for disaster’ since over 230 million people of Indonesia are threatened with a multitude of hazards (p. 424).

The biggest disaster of the century was the 2004 quake and this originated on the fault near Sumatra, Indonesia, that spawned the Asian tsunami, killing more than 150,000 people (James, 2008).  This quake was believed to contribute to the movement of the tectonic plates along Indonesian islands and triggered a series of devastating disasters. One of the disasters in Indonesia that took great attention from the international community was a 6.3 magnitude scale of earthquake in Jogjakarta (the first author’s hometown) in 2006. This disaster caused the loss of more than 6,000 lives and more than 70,000 houses were damaged (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/UNOCHA, 2006). A few months before this study was conducted in early 2011, an active volcano erupted in the northern part of Jogjakarta causing 151 fatalities and leading more than 300,000 people to flee their houses (Joewono, 2010). Teachers involved in this study who had been survivors of the earthquake responded to this tragedy by organising donations and started to discuss the possibility of disaster with children in their ECE centres.



The case study

The research reported in this article concerns teachers from a disaster prone area in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, as they reflected on the possibility of involving young children in DRR strategies. In our analyses of the data, the focus is on how child participation in DRR strategies might be incorporated into the curriculum of ECE. Specifically, we explored how teachers did and might support such an idea in practice. Seven teachers from two early childhood centres were interviewed individually and in focus groups.

The two centres are located in a rural part of Jogjakarta, affected by an earthquake in 2006. According to the data from UNOCHA (2006) once centre referred to as Jetis preschool in this paper is located in Jetis sub-district which had the highest causalities (up to 830 people). The second centre, referred to here as Sewon Preschool, is located in Sewon sub-district, where there were up to 462 reported causalities. The two centres are community-based operations run by the community and for the community. These centres rely on volunteers who are mainly women. The volunteer teachers do not always have training in ECE and they usually have full-time jobs outside their centre work. The centres are open three days a week.  Around 20 to 30 children aged between 2 to 5 years are enrolled at each centre and a multi-age teaching approach is used.

Approach to generating data

The negotiation of meaning between the interviewer and interviewee can emerge during interviews, as explained by Malozzi (2009) due to the complexities of the interviewing process. Semi-structured interviews were employed as this technique gave the flexibility to adjust the questions according to the situation encountered, as suggested by Lichtman (2010). This is important, as flexibility was needed due to translation of some of the words being used in the interview. The word ‘participation’ in English has been adopted into Indonesian as ‘partisipasi’, which has been translated into ‘getting involved’ in the Indonesian dictionary (Badudu, 2003), and this word was used in the question list. When some of the participants appeared to be confused with the word ‘partisipasi’, the wording was changed to involvement (keterlibatan) and getting involved (ikut serta atau terlibat). Although the synonym of the word ‘participation’ was given, checks were also made to ensure that there were similar understandings of the term.

The individual interviews were then followed by focus group discussions held in each ECE centre. The interview provided information on the teachers’ perception about child participation in DRR strategies in ECE, whereas, the focus group discussions were about strategies related to the implementation of child-led approach in teaching DRR. The language used in the discussion is mostly Indonesian, but occasionally switched to Javanese, the ethnic language of the region. This occurred especially when there was no Indonesian equivalent for the terms used or when there was joking. The conversations were transcribed in the original language, which is used as the basis for analysis. The excerpts cited in this article are a translation by the first author from the transcription of the original language. Pseudonyms have been used for the names of the teachers and the preschools involved in the research.


Findings and discussion

The findings highlight three themes that contribute to the discussion of child-led DRR strategies in ECE in Indonesia. These include: first, multiple perspectives about children as participants in DRR which provides understanding of what child participation means in the local context that affected their participation in DRR learning; second, building the resilience of children in early childhood centres and their contribution toward community resilience to natural disasters; and finally, the power of play to support children in DRR learning in order to heal and build capacity for the future.

Multiple meanings of children as participants in DRR

The research demonstrates how multiple meanings of child participation in DRR strategies exist and both represent different examples of participation. Children’s position in Javanese society upholds a notion of hierarchical respect, that is, the respect expected to be shown by children to adults, and it has influenced teachers’ perception toward children as participants in DRR learning. The dominant conception that emerged during the data collection showed that teachers are believed to have more authority in setting the class agenda. It is interesting, however, even though such a belief positions children as the passive participant in the learning process, that teachers felt they have an obligation to acknowledge children’s feeling in the activity by observing whether they feel happy and involved in the activity without feeling forced.

The ambiguity of the teachers’ role in practising child participation in the classroom reflects society’s perception that a teacher is a person in charge who needs to be respected by the children. The teachers have chosen to use a deductive process as suggested by Penn (2009) by listening and observing to children’s voice rather than forcing them to speak. Teachers have reaffirmed their status as the leader (guru) in the classroom without leaving their integrity to respect children’s voices in many ways other than only using language.

It became evident that some teachers explicitly recognise children’s autonomy in the learning process. They were aware of children’s capacity in coping with disaster using local knowledge to protect them from an earthquake. A teacher explained that they had discussed disaster response with children and they understand if there is an earthquake, usually they will hear a sound of kentongan (a wooden bell hanging in front of Javanese houses) and they need to run outside their house immediately and without being told to do so. The teachers recognise that outside the school, children gain a variety of information from their surrounding; through the media, and through local wisdom learnt from their parents or peers. They feel that children's own knowledge and experience is the best resource to exercise children's autonomy in DRR learning. As one of the teacher in Sewon preschool said: “We can probe from children's own experience, we can ask them to tell their experience about how they respond, what they think that we should do if we experience disaster…”  The teachers positioned themselves as a “co-constructor of knowledge, identity and culture” in early childhood education (Dahlberg et al., 2007, p. 50).

The different approaches taken in positioning children as participants in DRR learning as shown in the examples above has led to a compromised understanding of the concept of child participation in DRR learning as conveyed in the focus group. The conversation below shows teachers agree that they need to balance child participation with the conventional role of teachers in the classroom.

Suryani: I think child participation is when children can have their own opinions about how to deal with a disaster.

Windu:  Adding to what Suryani has said, if children already have the capacity to express their opinions about how to protect themselves during a disaster then it is already a form of child participation. But in the beginning we have to give stimulation. (FGD Sewon Preschool)

In interpreting child participation in DRR learning, teachers also emphasised that children’s views should not be in conflict with the common interest of the classroom, including those of the teacher and other children. This view places children as worthwhile actors but at the same time highlights a primary concern with the common interest.  This perspective challenges the criticism that child participation always links with individualism as pointed out by Bae (2010). In this context the goal of practising child participation, as agreed by the teachers, is to gain child independence within their community.

This understanding of children as participants in DRR learning from teachers shows that the learning process is a cooperative activity in which children construct knowledge and make meaning together with adults and other children (Dahlberg et al., 2007).  Child participation in DRR learning as found in this study is an interdependent link between children and adults rather than a binary position between the two. This approach makes room for the development of democratic principles (Sheridan & Samuelsson, 2001) by building dialogue into their interaction.

Building the resilience of children and community

Early childhood education can play a role in building children’s resilience toward natural disaster where children can have the opportunity to take the lead in the process and this may have an effect on their community as well. The primary objectives of delivering DRR learning in ECE, as shown in this study, are for children to be able to protect themselves during disasters and this can be taught through simulations. Windu, from Jetis preschool, shared her conversation with the children, “they admit that they are afraid when they were experiencing earthquake but because they knew how to respond to an earthquake from simulation at school, they feel more prepared if an earthquake comes again”.  As Martin (2010) has noted children would be more likely to cope better during a disaster if prepared.

ECE teachers can assist children in developing resilience before or in the aftermath of disaster, as shown in the following discussion of the Sewon preschool focus group:

Vina: What if children are having trauma? Because some of them had experienced earthquake and if it happens again maybe they will be confused what to do. What do we do if this happens?

Windu: Maybe it can be dealt with…what is it called…’trauma healing’? Yes, maybe that what it’s called in English, I don’t understand the term. But I think it is one of the risk of disaster, traumatic feeling. So we can deal with it by giving fun activities like playing. We can give information about disaster preparedness during simulation and then we can help children to reduce their trauma by playing. So we cover both… (words in quotation mark were originally said in English)

The role of ECE teacher in supporting children’s resilience as explained by the teachers in the excerpt above includes giving children opportunity to be trained in disaster preparedness as well as responding to traumatic feeling due to the disaster. This concept is in line with the notion of the holistic approach to child-led DRR strategies as explained by Martin (2010) that includes not only children’s survival but also their physical, mental, emotional and social development. Addressing children’s trauma in ECE gives children learning experiences that are social and emotional as well as academic (Rowling, 2008).

Aminah, from Jetis preschool, said that daily pre-school life helps prevent further trauma on children, as it offers a recreational escape from chaotic lives after the disaster. Bone (2008) has pointed out that ECE settings are places with the potential to support healing and recovery. Teachers in this study position the ECE centre as a place that Bone (2008, p. 272) proposes can be a “spiritually in-between” space.  This is a space where certain rituals and relationships support children and adults to create deeper meaning together, for example, Aminah’s “recreational  escape” is achieved by responding to the environment and with each other in a place of safety. The in-between is a distinctive space that connects the cultural environment, the home and the centre (Bone, 2008).

Recreation, as mentioned by the teacher, was translated to mean that children can seek emotional comfort from other members of the school, from the teachers as well as from other children. Windu, from Sewon preschool, contributed the idea that teachers should give attention to children facing traumatic events by talking to them about how they feel and listening to them with empathy. Furthermore, the teacher explained that children could help other children during disaster to deal with the effect of disaster. This support is needed to make the children feel that they are not alone in facing unpredictable events in disaster zones. This kind of support comes from connectedness and communal spirit (Rowling, 2008) and is where the early childhood centre can become the spiritually in-between space (Bone, 2008) between home and centre.

The daily rites and rituals in early childhood  centres also provide this sense of being spiritually in-between as they give a structure to life among the uncertainties of traumatic events (Bone, 2008).  Activities such as play, singing, and reading stories may help children make meaning of the situation. The teachers explained that children were particularly excited about learning new songs and singing made them happy. The teachers usually use a famous song and change the lyrics to suit with the message they want to deliver. One of the lyrics about DRR that the children learn is:

Be careful when there is an earthquake…drop and cover your head. If the quake stops, evacuate immediately…

Through this song, children can become a risk communicator to their families. When the children learn a new song from their teachers, they would ask their parents to help them practise the new song at home. This strategy can be effective in disseminating DRR to the wider community as explained by Martin (2010) especially in poor communities where parents are illiterate. However, teachers reported a problem with parents sometimes showing excess control over their children’s learning and changing the purpose of the activities to become more stressful and challenging. This is why building children’s resilience in early childhood centres needs to be supported collectively, with the cooperation of children, teachers, parents and families who all have to understand the benefits of a more child-centred approach (Langford, 2010).

The power of play to support DRR learning

“Delivering information about disaster to children in the ECE centre should use children's language and be simple to be understood by children - that is play”, said Windu, one of the teachers in this study. Play activities provided in centres can contribute to the development of children’s resilience to natural disasters (Bone, 2008). The teachers in this study are aware that fun activities such as play could facilitate children’s emotional and intellectual capacity regarding DRR awareness. They discuss how play may become a way whereby children can choose to exercise their knowledge about DRR.

Play opportunities in early childhood centres can help children to gain emotional recovery as it supports the imagination (Bone, 2008). The teachers gave an example of play that could create fantasy in the children in dealing with a disaster, such as building blocks with used cartons to give an analogy related to their understanding of the earthquake. Another method of play recommended was drawing, which was seen as facilitating children to express their feelings when a disaster happened. This facilitation, as suggested by Fearn and Howard (2011), is important in that children learn to understand their emotions and discover how to manage their fears or trauma through play. The teachers have used play for an emotional escape where the children can create their own ‘ideal’ state during emotional turbulence when they are facing disaster. In Christchurch, New Zealand, Café and Boles (2011, p. 5) suggest that ‘earthquake play’ was supported in order to express feelings and help children make sense of traumatic events.

Play cannot be separated from learning and the two are intertwined. Early childhood pedagogy can draw on similarities to encourage children to make sense of the world (Samuelsson & Carlsson, 2008). In this study, teachers are directing children’s play in order to understand their thoughts and feelings on disaster. One of the teachers gave an example that she asked the children to tell stories based on their own experiences or their observation about disaster through picture or games. In so doing, the teachers can contribute meaningful dialogue into children’s play to understand their interaction with their environment (Fearn & Howard, 2011).

Fearn and Howard (2011) noted that it is important when play becomes a key factor in supporting children’s resilience to create an opportunity to build a sense of autonomy. Children might need control over their play in order to exercise their creativity, to take risks, to cope with stress and build positive feelings. In this study, the teachers propose that children should be given an opportunity to have their own ideas on dealing with disaster as shown in the earthquake simulation exercise. The children could choose whether to run outside the house or hide under the table and they are aware of the consequences of their choice. This is not only of benefit for increasing children’s knowledge on disaster response (Martin, 2010), but also for growing the children’s confidence in dealing with disaster.


Influencing policy

Early childhood teachers can play an important role in helping children develop resilience in the face of a natural disaster. Disaster risk reduction learning can be used in ECE to prepare children to deal with and understand how to respond to disasters.  It is the teachers’ task to help children to attain their autonomy in dealing with disasters by facilitating their capability in producing knowledge and sharing this with their families to have an influence in the wider community. Unfortunately, the importance of disaster risk reduction as curriculum in early childhood has not been admitted in Indonesia. The Ministry of Education of Indonesia has issued a hand bill advocating disaster risk reduction mainstreaming in schools. The goal is to increase school community awareness on safety and resilience through the integration of DRR into school curriculum from elementary through high school level. This is unfortunate considering DRR strategies could be included in ECE curriculum as they are described above. The promotion of children’s agency in DRR can be conceptualised as upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. 



Practises of child participation in DRR strategies are seen as an aspect of social and community interest in Indonesia rather than something that reflects the rights of the child in terms of participation.  As indicated by this study, there is need for ECE teachers to support child participation in DRR learning and to find a democratic and acceptable way of involving children, teachers and community. The perspective of teachers will influence the role of children in DRR strategies.  Teachers will also be influenced by local policies. 

Indonesia and New Zealand are very different places in terms of size, population and location, but both places have an environmental propensity toward natural disaster. Despite this, there is no mention of DRR strategies within curriculum documents for ECE in either country.  It is recommended that in future these strategies be included and become part of the curriculum frameworks in these two countries and internationally. 

This study is supportive of the notion of play as a learning pedagogy in early childhood and suggests that play becomes a medium for children to afford emotional and intellectual capacity for resilience (Bone, 2008; Fearn & Howard, 2011). Early childhood centres have the potential to create a joyful environment through play so that children can have an emotional escape from their chaotic lives during disaster, as noted by Bone (2008), whereby play facilitates a space for children to heal themselves by creating an ‘ideal’ emotional state for them. More importantly, teachers should encourage a sense of choice and control to encourage children’s confidence in DRR learning.  In this respect we would also argue for professional development for teachers about DRR strategies for young children. Understanding ways children can become active participants in DRR learning will encourage and help teachers to actively support children and their families and communities in uncertain times.



Badudu, J. S. (Ed.) (2003).  [Dictionary of adopted words in Indonesian from foreign language]. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas.

Bae, B. (2010). Realizing children’s right to participation in early childhood settings: Some critical issues in a Norwegian context. Early Years, 30(3), 205-218.

Bone, J. (2008). Exploring trauma, loss and healing: Spirituality, Te Whāriki and early  childhood education. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 13(3), 265 - 276.

Café, A. & Boles, S. (2011). Talking about earthquakes (and tsunamis).  Early Education, 49, Autumn/Winter, 5-10.

Clinton, J. (2008). Resilience and recovery. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 13(3), 213 - 222.

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (2007). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Language of evaluation (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Fearn, M., & Howard, J. (2011). Play as a resource for children facing adversity: An exploration of indicative case studies. Children & Society, 25(3), 1-13.

Filippini, T. (1998). The role of the Pedagogista: An interview with Lella Gandini. In C. Edwards, L. Gandini & G. Forman (Eds.), The hundreds languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach-Advanced reflections (2nd ed.). London: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

James, A., Jenks, C., & Prout, A. (1998). Theorizing childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press.

James, E. (2008). Getting ahead of the next disaster: recent preparedness efforts in Indonesia. Development in Practice, 18(3), 424 - 429.

Jenks, C. (2005). Childhood (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.

Joewono, B. N. (2010, 9 November 2010). Erupsi Merapi 2010 Lebih Besar dari 1872 [2010 Merapi eruption is bigger than in 1872], kompas.com. Retrieved from http://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2010/11/09/ 15573541/erupsi.merapi.2010.lebih.besar.dari.1872

King, M. (2007). The Sociology of Childhood as Scientific Communication. Childhood, 14(2), 193-213.

Komulainen, S. (2007). The ambiguity of the child's 'voice' in social research. Childhood, 14(1), 11-28.

Langford, R. (2010). Critiquing child-centred pedagogy to bring children and early childhood educators into the centre of a democratic pedagogy. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 11(1), 113-127.

Lichtman, M. (2010). Qualitative research in education: A user’s guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mallozzi, C. A. (2009). Voicing the interview:  A researcher's exploration on a platform of empathy. Qualitative Inquiry, 15(6), 1042-1060.

Martin, M.-L. (2010). Child participation in disaster risk reduction: the case of flood-affected children in Bangladesh. Third World Quarterly, 31(8), 1357 - 1375.

Mayall, B. (2000). The sociology of childhood in relation to childrens rights. The International Journal of Children's Rights, 8(3), 243-259.

Ministry of Education Republic of Indonesia. (2003). Undang-Undang Sistem Pendidikan Nasional [National Education System Law].  Retrieved from www.inherent-dikti.net/files/sisdiknas.pdf.

Newberry, J. (2010). The global child and non-governmental governance of the family in post-Suharto Indonesia. Economy and Society, 39(3), 403-426.

Nsamenang, A. B. (2008). Agency in early childhood learning and development in Cameroon. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 9(3), 211-223.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. (2005). General Comment No. 7/Rev1: Implementing child rights in early childhood.  Retrieved from http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/comments.htm.

Penn, H. (2009). International perspectives on participatory learning: Young children's perspectives across rich and poor countries. In D. Berthelsen, J. Brownlee & E. Johansson (Eds.), Participatory learning in the early years: Research and pedagogy. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Rinaldi, C. (2006). In dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, researching and learning. London, New York: Routledge.

Rowling, L. (2008). Linking spirituality, school communities, grief and well-being. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 13(3), 241 - 251.

Samuelsson, I. P., & Carlsson, M. A. (2008). The playing learning child: Towards a pedagogy of early childhood. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(6), 623 - 641.

Sheridan, S., & Samuelsson, I. P. (2001). Children's conceptions of participation and influence in pre-school: A perspective on pedagogical quality. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2(2), 169-194.

Tanner, T. (2010). Shifting the narrative: Child-led responses to climate change and disasters in El Salvador and the Philippines. Children & Society, 24(4), 339-351.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (2013). Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/crc/

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) (Cartographer). (2006). Indonesia: Earthquake - Bantul district - Number of victim. Retrieved from http://www.reliefweb.int/node/4692

United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Secretariat (2005). Retrieved from www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/GP

United States Geological Survey (Cartographer). (1999). Pacific Ring of Fire. Retrieved from http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/fire.html

Viruru, R. (2001). Colonized through language: The case of early childhood education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 2(1), 21-47.


About the Authors

Dian Fikriani was a survivor of 2006 earthquake in Jogjakarta where she lived in a temporary shelter with her family at that moment and worked with aid workers during the emergency response. This experience has had a strong influence on her choice of research topic. She is now working as a Research Associate in the Center for Public Mental Health, Faculty of Psychology, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

Jane Bone PhD is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University, Australia. As a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand she was affected by the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquake. She researches spirituality as an aspect of holistic health and wellbeing.  She is currently involved in research about building sustainable communities, creative learning spaces and global leadership.



This article is dedicated to all beings who have suffered in earthquakes, whoever and wherever they are.



Oops ... you are attempting to view an article or a resource in the member-only area.  

To keep reading, you need to login with your membership login Smile

If this is not one of our 'Educators' or 'Service Provider' articles, then it is most likely a NZ-Int Research in ECE Journal article that can be accessed through a library subscription or a research membership if you are not an educator or service provider.  

Not a member?  Look below ↓ for the click here button ↓   It will take you to the membership page to sign up and choose your own unique username and password.

Are you interested in joining us? 
Become a member and also gain access to our significant online knowledge base 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Teachers - Student Teachers - Parents
$78.00 one year
$145.00 two years
Your own personal username and password.
Includes access to research library

ECE Service Provider  

Who is this for?
Service providers with one or more licensed ECE services
Starting from $198.00 for one year
Your own unique username and password.
Includes access to research library 

Researcher Membership or
a Library Subscription

Who is this for?
Libraries and organisations $250 annual 
Researchers $145.00 for two years
Access to over 20 years of NZ-International Research in ECE journal issues and articles