Educators’ Perspectives on Attachment and Professional Love in Early Years Settings in England
In the current risk-averse climate of the United Kingdom (UK) necessarily intimate relationships that early years educators develop with young children have become a matter for intense scrutiny. This chapter draws on a field-based study which investigated how early years educators in England engage intimately with young children to meet their needs and determine what ‘love’ looks like in early years settings. Emerging from a critical review of the attachment literature the study used an online survey, in-depth interviews and focus groups to explore how notions of professional care and love are constructed within a contemporary early childhood discourse in England. The findings of the study suggest educators want to feel more confident about their professional decisions in relation to expressions of love, care and intimacy. Educators also wanted to inform their everyday intimate relationships with young children with a better understanding of attachment theory and its focus on attuned relationships.
The PLEYS project was funded by the University of Sheffield Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) in collaboration with Fennies Nurseries.
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