Discerning childcare quality

Parents as potential informants of policy beyond regulation

Marianne Fenech*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In the context of market-based childcare provision, governments in many industrialised countries use regulation to ensure quality standards and practices. Limited research, however, has investigated parents' perceptions of childcare quality and whether what parents value as contributors to quality resonates with regulatory frameworks. This article critically uses the Bourdieuian notion of 'taste' to explore the perspectives of parent users of high-quality childcare in Australia. Findings from six case studies show that irrespective of educational attainment, parents conceptualise 'quality' in childcare in ways that are consistent with, but also extend beyond, regulation. Parents identified factors such as engagement with the local community, not-for-profit community-based provision, and stability of committed staff who experience high job satisfaction as important to the provision of quality childcare. Identification of these factors highlights regulation as a potential discursive strategy that neutralises demand for other complementary but more contentious policy approaches.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-345
    Number of pages19
    JournalCritical Studies in Education
    Volume53
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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