Babyroom Workers: Care in Practice
What are we are asking of the young women employed in baby rooms in daycare settings? Globally, baby room workers find themselves in the unenviable position of having limited training, low status, poor pay and conditions but extraordinarily high levels of responsibility for babies for most of their waking (and sleeping) lives during the working week. Through a series of six research and development projects carried out between 2009 and 2015 in early years setting for under-3 year olds in England, evidence has emerged that baby room employees are concerned to increase and develop their knowledge but remain predominantly driven by the fulfilment of functional tasks. Using an interpretive, exploratory approach within a critical feminist paradigm, the projects identified the problematic expectations faced by people employed to ‘care’ for babies and young children within a policy context that devalues that care and accords baby room workers very little status in society. The chapter argues that the ‘value’ applied to babies and young children (and consequently to those who care for them) is currently not very high and the increased urgency to ‘professionalise’ childcare might be leading to an international side-stepping of the apparently contentious issues of affect, intimacy and nurturance, leading to uncertainty about the very nature of care for babies.
KeywordsEarly Childhood Education Lone Mother Professional Development Session Infant School Foundation Stage
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