Professional occupational activities and functions of Greek infant-toddler educators: Roles and responsibilities


Abstract views: 301 / PDF downloads: 169

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.37291/2717638X.202451318

Keywords:

Infant-toddler educators, Professional identity, Role, Occupational activities, Greece

Abstract

During the last years, infant and toddler practice is receiving increased attention at the policy level. Yet, little is known about what infant/toddler practice entails and how educators working with children of this age group view their role and professional identity. The present mixed methods study aims at filling the research gap on what the professional identity and the work of infant and toddler educators entails, what are the characteristics that constitute an infant/toddler educator professionally and on the extent to which they are well prepared to perform their multi-dimensional role. 51 Greek infant/toddler educators responded to an online questionnaire which included close and open-ended questions. Results reveal that the role of infant/toddler educators is complex and multi-faceted and that infant/toddler educators spent most of their time in education and care practices rather than managerial practices. In addition, results highlight that care moves beyond narrow definitions that include routines, to a broader image of care which involves educational and relational aspects. Divergences between practices adopted in infant and toddler classrooms have also been revealed. The results highlight the need to further explore infant and toddler educators’ voices about their role, professional identity and work.

References

Ailwood, J. (2007). Mothers, teachers, maternalism and early childhood education and care: Some historical connections. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(2), 157-165. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2007.8.2.157

Bussey, K. & Hill, D. (2017). Care as curriculum: Investigating teachers’ views on the learning in care. Early Child Development and Care, 187(1), 128-137. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2016.1152963

Cadima, J., Nata, G., Barros, S., Coelho, V. & Barata, C. (2020). Literature review on early childhood education and care for children under the age of 3. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 243, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Chu, M. (2016). What’s missing in most of our early childhood degrees? Focusing more deeply on relationships and learning with infants, toddlers, and their families. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 37(4), 264-281. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10901027.2016.1241966

Davis, B. & Degotardi, S. (2015). Who cares? Infant educators’ responses to professional discourses of care. Early Child Development and Care, 185(11-12), 1733-1747. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2015.1028385

Davis, B. & Dunn, R. (2019). Professional identity in the infant room. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 44(3), 244–256. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1836939119855222

European Commission. (2022). Proposal for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on the Revision of the Barcelona Targets on early childhood education and care COM/2022/442 final. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2022:442:FIN

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice/Eurostat. (2014). Key data on early childhood education and care in Europe. 2014 Edition. Eurydice and Eurostat Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Goouch, K., & Powell, S. (2015). The baby room project: Findings and implications. Eye, 17(1), 46-52. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12968/eyed.2015.17.1.38

Government Gazette 497. (2002). “Πρότυπος κανονισμός λειτουργίας δημοτικών και κοινοτικών νομικών προσώπων δημοσίου δικαίου παιδικών και βρεφονηπιακών σταθμών” [Model Regulation for the Operation of Municipal and Community Child and Infant/Child Centers]. Joint Ministerial Decision 16065 – Government Gazette 497/B’/22.04.2002 [In Greek].

Harwood, D. & Tukonic, S. (2017). Babysitter or professional? Perceptions of professionalism narrated by Ontario early childhood educators. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 8(4), 589–600.

Harwood, D., Klopper, A., Osanyin, A., & Vanderlee, M.L. (2013). ‘It’s more than care’: Early childhood educators’ concepts of professionalism. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 33(1), 4-17. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2012.667394

McDowall Clark, R. & Baylis, S. (2012). ‘Wasted down there’: Policy and practice with the under-threes. Early Years, 32(2), 229-242. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2011.652939

Mikuska, E., Fairchild, N., Sabine, A., & Barton, S. (2023). Quality early childhood education and care practices: The importance of skills, knowledge and the early childhood graduate practitioner competences. International Journal of Early Years Education Online first. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760.2023.2254819

Molla, T. & Nolan, A. (2019). Identifying professional functionings of early childhood educators. Professional Development in Education, 45(4), 551-566. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2018.1449006

Moloney, M. (2010). Professional identity in early childhood care and education: perspectives of pre-school and infant teachers. Irish Educational Studies, 29(2), 167-187. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03323311003779068

Nuttall, J. (2003). Influences on the co-construction of the teacher role in early childhood curriculum: Some examples from a New Zealand childcare centre. International Journal of Early Years Education, 11(1), 23-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09669760304716

OECD (2023). Enrolment rate in early childhood education (indicator). https://data.oecd.org/students/enrolment-rate-in-early-childhood-education.htm

Oke, A., Butler, J. E., & O'Neill, C. (2019). Choose your words wisely: Descriptions of a professional early childhood practitioner. The Qualitative Report, 24(12), 3047-3060. DOI: https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3603

Powell, S. & Goouch, K. (2012). Whose hand rocks the cradle? Parallel discourses in the baby room. Early Years, 32(2), 113-127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2012.687865

Quiñones, G., Li, L., & Ridgway, A. (2018). Collaborative forum: An affective space for infant–toddler educators’ collective reflections. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 43(3), 25–33. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23965/AJEC.43.3.03

Redman, T., Harrison, L.J., & Djonov, E. (2022). Education versus care for infants and toddlers: The Australian early childhood challenge. Early Child Development and Care, 192(13), 2118-2127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2021.1990904

Rentzou, K. (2019). Greek early childhood educators’ conceptualization of education, care and educare concepts. Early Years - An International Research Journal, 39(2), 148-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2017.1361386

Rentzou, K. (2020). The vicious circle of ECEC dichotomy: How dichotomy in and focus of initial professional preparation programs preserve the segregation between care and education. In I. Jones and M. Lin (Eds.). Critical issues in early childhood teacher education: Volume 2 - International perspectives (p.p. 79-103). Information Age Publishing

Rockel, J. (2009). A pedagogy of care: Moving beyond the margins of managing work and minding babies. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(3), 1-8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/183693910903400302

Schmidt, T., Smidt, W., & Roux, S. (2018). What do pedagogues in daycare do? Empirical analyses of the occupational activities of pedagogues in children’s daycare centres in Germany. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 26(3), 446-460. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2018.1463910

Shin, M. (2015). Enacting caring pedagogy in the infant classroom. Early Child Development and Care, 185(3), 496-508. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2014.940929

Shpancer, N., Dunlap, B., Melick, K.M., Coxe, K., Kuntzman, D., Sayre, P.S., Toto, C., & Spive, A.T. (2008). Educators or babysitters? Daycare caregivers reflect on their profession. Child Care in Practice, 14(4), 401-412. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13575270802267994

Sims, M., & Tiko, L. (2016). We’re going on a bear hunt: reconciling neoliberalism and postcolonialism in Pacific early childhood. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1152673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1152673

Sims, M., Alexander, E., Nislin, M, Pedey, K., Tausere-Tiko, L. & Sajaniemi, N., (2018). Infant and toddler educare: A challenge to neoliberalism. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 8(1), a594. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.594

Stone, B. & Rixon, A. (2008). Towards integrated working. In P. Foley & A., Rixon (Eds). Changing children’s services: Working and learning together (p.p. 87-121). Bristol: Policy Press.

Wong, S., Harrison, L., Press, F., Sumsion, J., Gibson, M., & Woods, A. (2015). The construction of a taxonomy of early childhood educators’ work. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(3), 79-87. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911504000311

World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Bank Group. (2018). Nurturing care for early childhood development: a framework for helping children survive and thrive to transform health and human potential. World Health Organization.

Downloads

Published

2024-02-10

How to Cite

Rentzou, K. (2024). Professional occupational activities and functions of Greek infant-toddler educators: Roles and responsibilities. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 5(1), 146–160. https://doi.org/10.37291/2717638X.202451318