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Passion, Paradox and Professionalism in Early Years Education

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Abstract:

Early Years practitioners frequently use words like 'passionate' to describe themselves and their attitudes to working and playing with young children. But how is this emotive and emotional word to be interpreted by others? Given any evidence of real political influence or strength, this mainly female workforce cannot perhaps be said to be sufficiently passionate or forceful in justifying and promoting their beliefs and ideologies. Herein lies one of many paradoxes in early childhood: it seems impossible to work effectively with very young children without the deep and sound commitment signified by the use of words like 'passionate'. Yet this very symbolisation gives a particular emotional slant to the work of early childhood practitioners which can work for or against them in their everyday roles and practices, bringing into question what constitutes professionalism and what being a 'teacher' means in such diversified contexts. This paper will show that working in partnership with researchers, different groups of early years practitioners have shown themselves able to engage in high level, critical (and passionate!) reflection on their own practices, to link associated theory and to challenge political prescription.

Keywords: EARLY; PASSION; PRACTITIONERS; PROFESSIONALISM; RESEARCH; YEARS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575140124792

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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