Mind-mindedness in infant child-care: Associations with early childhood practitioner sensitivity and stimulation

Sheila Degotardi*, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    The significance of mind-mindedness, or the tendency of adults to ascribe mental states and processes when describing and interpreting children's behavior, is well established in home contexts. The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence and pedagogical implications of the mind-mindedness of 24 early childhood practitioners working with 9-20-month-old infants in infant child-care programs. Two indices of mind-mindedness, mind-minded descriptions and mind-minded talk, were obtained from practitioners' narrated interpretations of infant play and their talk to a nominated infant during a 12-min free-play session. The quality of practitioners' interaction during this free-play session was coded for their levels of sensitivity and stimulation. Results revealed significant relationships between the two indices of mind-mindedness, suggesting a degree of commonality between the operationalizations. After controlling for the significant effect of practitioner qualification, both indices of mind-mindedness were significantly related to practitioner sensitivity and stimulation levels. The results extend current understandings of mind-mindedness to out-of-home contexts and have implications for the provision of developmentally supportive experiences for infants in child-care settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)253-265
    Number of pages13
    JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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