The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has shown that there is a steady growth in the numbers of infants attending early childhood services. Despite growing interest in infant learning, recognition of infant teachers as specialised professionals is limited. This research aims to explore the role of early childhood teachers working with infants in early childhood education and care settings through the following questions: (1) What are the teachers’ reported reflections about their role in working with infants? (2) How does this help shape their professional identity? Visual methodologies alongside narrative inquiry were used to capture the lived experiences of infants and their teachers in early childhood education settings. Thematic analysis was conducted within a constructivist paradigm utilising descriptive codes based on Molla and Nolan’s classes of professional functionings. Findings showed infant teachers’ pedagogical work with infants to be subtle, based on specialised understandings of individual children and this age group. The teachers were self-aware, making purposeful pedagogical decisions based on knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, communicating this work with parents, untrained staff and employers remains a challenge. Professional recognition and identity should be reconceptualised with wider recognition of the specialisation of infant teachers including changes in policy and remuneration.
- early childhood