There is little research to show how early childhood educators perceive risk-taking and whether, in the pursuit of high quality early childhood education, educators might take risks in their professional practice. We conducted a qualitative case study to explore early childhood educators’ views on, and engagement with, risk-taking in professional practice. Through thematic analysis of interviews with 55 educators in three high quality early childhood education services, we show that, for the educators in the study, risk-taking was a valuable aspect of professional practice driven by three main motivations: professional growth and development; developing children as competent and empowered individuals; and advocacy and activism. We also show that educators’ risk-taking was enacted under five broad themes: providing opportunities for children to take risks; trusting children; doing things that are new; expressing ideas and beliefs; and including curriculum content that may be considered controversial, complex and inappropriate for children. We conclude that for educators in the study, risk-taking was enacted as courageous, ethically and morally driven praxis in pursuit of high quality ECE for the benefit of both individuals and society.
- educators’ risk-taking
- high quality early childhood education
- the theory of practice architectures