Relational pedagogy with infants & toddlers: The foundation of childcare teachers’ early communication development & learning work

Jessie Jovanovic, Christine Brebner, Angela Lawless, Jessica Young

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    Relationships with children are an established component of early childhood education and care, and are deeply embedded in the contemporary national and international policy contexts. Recent changes to Australian national law, regulations, curriculum, and quality standards espouse secure attachment relationships as a foundational requirement of interdisciplinary work in the early years. Yet the advanced discipline-specific knowledge and practices that childcare teachers bring to this work has largely gone unrecognised. This paper seeks to give voice to their professional expertise, presenting focus group data from a recent South Australian study (n = 8 Early Childhood Education & Care Services (ECECS); n = 19 teachers) that sought to investigate how infant-toddler childcare teachers understand and support very young children’s early communication and attachment development. Infant-toddler childcare teachers described strategies and approaches to their early communication teaching and learning that were inextricably bound to their relational pedagogy, seeing secure attachment relationships as a supportive mechanism for speech development and language-learning. Their grasp of very young children’s sophisticated socio-emotional and linguistic capabilities and the subtle nuances of forging and sustaining effective, ongoing communication with families were at odds, however, with the conflicting and contradictory range of pedagogical practices they described to elucidate such early learning and development. Building on the depth of these childcare teachers’ expertise, we will explore the implications that this relational pedagogic knowledge may have on their professional development training needs, and on the wider positioning of their emotionally-intensive work within a broader social milieu, using a strengths-based approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event2015 Early Years Conference – Today’s Children Tomorrow’s Future: Strengthening collaboration and practice across the early year - Cairns, Australia
    Duration: 10 Sep 201511 Sep 2015


    Conference2015 Early Years Conference – Today’s Children Tomorrow’s Future


    • Childcare
    • Pedagogy
    • Toddlers
    • Infants


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