Educators’ risk-taking in high quality early childhood education

Mandy Cooke*, Frances Press, Sandie Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2020


    • educators’ risk-taking
    • high quality early childhood education
    • praxis
    • risk-taking
    • the theory of practice architectures


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