Dilys Wilson

Holding the baby – the contribution of Early Years Teachers to leading practice with babies

Policy initiatives to promote a graduate professional role in an early years sector with mixed market provision remain partially implemented, resulting in Early Years Teachers not being recognised as qualified teachers. For the education and care of the under 2s in nurseries, the lack of consensus about the skills and training required by the professionals who work with them raises questions about what quality provision should aspire to be.

The research focuses on the professional journeys taken by early years teacher trainees on a Postgraduate training programme as they explore their pedagogy with the 0-2 age group. The purpose of the research is to investigate how they make use of the experiences they gain from placement/workplace practice in baby rooms and from the opportunities for reflection available to them during the training period.

Taking an insider researcher position, directly involved in developing the training programme, a praxeological methodology is used to engage with trainees in the process of critical reflection in order to promote a shift in practice. The reflections and actions of the trainees, the support provided by setting-based mentors and the training team are analysed using a psycho-social paradigm.

Findings show that trainees are able to articulate a more confident pedagogy for babies when they have opportunities to engage with others in small group reflective supervision. Professional growth and development are further facilitated through the development of close training relationships with group supervisors and experienced leaders of practice with babies.

Supervisors: Professor Jayne Osgood, Dr Paula Nottingham

Email: d.x.wilson@mdx.ac.uk