Date & time: 23rd May 2018, 1-2pm
Location: C107, College Building, Middlesex University, London
Highly romanticised images of childhood produce notions of ‘ideal’ children serenely cared for as they laugh and play all day. However, these conceptualisations do not accurately reflect the multiple realities of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), and the complexity and demands of working with young children and their families. My study focuses on the key person role, as characterised by close practitioner-child attachment relationships and partnership working with parents. Furthermore, it is concerned with uncovering the essential characteristics of emotional labour in ECEC, and exploring the implementation of the related statutory duty for all early years practitioners to have regular supervision time for supported professional reflection. My research reinforces and extends previously published knowledge on emotional labour and supervision in early years practice, and the findings are also of direct practical relevance: the study is deeply phenomenological and adopts thematic analytical processes to reveal the essence of emotional labour in ECEC. Additionally, thematic analysis facilitates the emergence of six analytical themes which support a proposal that there are parallels to be drawn between how agentic emotional labour is experienced in both ECEC and Health and Social Care. Furthermore, an output of this study is a briefing document for workforce educators and trainers to support in the design of professional development curricula which foster professional caring dispositions and emotional resilience in students preparing to work, and working, in the emotionally demanding ECEC sector.