Early Childhood in Focus is a series of publications produced by the Child and Youth Studies Group at The Open University, United Kingdom, with the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The themes of the series have been chosen to reflect topics of research and knowledge development that address the most significant areas of children's rights, and where a deeper understanding of the issues involved is crucial to the success of policy development programmes and their implementation.
This issue of Early Childhood in Focus builds on theory and evidence about what makes for positive identity, how it can be affected by adversities, social exclusion and discrimination, and how young children's resilience can be promoted. Developing a positive identity is fundamental to realising every child's rights. It is at the heart of early childhood policies and practices as well as being a core topic for social research. The care, guidance and teaching offered by parents, professionals and other adults are the major conduit through which children can be assured positive identities, but recognizing children's own agency is also central. Recent research confirms the powerful role played by friends and peers, and offers insights into the ways that the developing of positive identity can be at the expense of other children, which is a further challenge for the development of inclusive policies and practices.