Making the personal visible

emotion in the nursery

Belinda Davis*, Rosemary Dunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Birth-2 early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, where evidence-based practices are still emerging, tensions exist about what it means to be an infant educator. While it is widely accepted that infants require responsive, supportive and care, relationships between educators and infants in early childhood settings necessarily involve emotion and the connections those emotions create profoundly affect children’s lives. Interviews with infant educators, analysed thematically, highlight the ways in which emotional relationships with infants become an important part of the educators’ role. This aspect of infant–educators work, which is subject to competing discourses about the educator–child relationship, is not widely recognized or understood. The findings of this study indicate that the emotional aspects of educator–infant relationships are not foregrounded in early childhood curriculum documents from Australia, England and New Zealand. This lack of foregrounding suggests that emotional relationships, and thus infants’ emotional experiences of ECEC, should be reconceptualized to recognize the nature and complexity of pedagogical work with infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-923
Number of pages19
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number7
Early online date16 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • infant
  • educator
  • emotion
  • nursery
  • curriculum

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