Who cares? Infant educators' responses to professional discourses of care

Belinda Davis*, Sheila Degotardi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the construction of ‘care’ in early childhood curriculum and practice. An increasing number of infants are attending formal early childhood settings in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011. Childhood education and care, Australia, June 2011. (4402.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4402.0); yet, relatively little research has considered how early childhood educators working with very young children are able to interpret and enact a new curriculum framework that does not explicitly make care practices visible. Findings are based on interviews with six university-qualified infant educators who work as team leaders in early childhood centres using a multiple case-study approach. Fisher and Tronto's theory of care [(1990). Toward a feminist theory of caring. In E. K. Abel & M. K. Nelson (Eds.), Circles of care: Work and identity in women's lives (pp. 35–62). New York, NY: State University of New York] is used to frame the analysis. These findings will be discussed in relation to the complexities involved in interpreting curriculum discourse, as well as the implications of such discourse for the professional identity and practice of infant educators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1747
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2015


  • care
  • curriculum
  • discourse
  • educator
  • infant
  • professionalism

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