Parent And Educator Perspectives And Experiences Of Infants' Transition To Childcare

Date created: 
2015-03-24
Identifier: 
etd8900
Keywords: 
Transitions
Childcare
Relationships
Primary caregiver model
Attachment theory
Abstract: 

This thesis is concerned with the transition children experience when moving from exclusive care by their first attachment figure (usually their mother) to centre care. The purpose of this study is to provide an in-depth understanding of how parents and childcare educators experience infants’ transitions to childcare and how relationships are built between parents and educators and between educators and children during the settling-in process and beyond it. This investigation is approached relationally using attachment theory as an investigative lens within a qualitative case study design over a 16-month period. Data were collected by participating in theory/practice inquiry meetings, observation at the centre, and individual educator interviews. Four families also shared their experiences with me during in-depth parent interviews and offered information about their expectations, concerns, and fears for the transition process and beyond. Results reveal that parents as well as educators experience social expectations that are culturally based and influence their actions, decisions and feelings, either acknowledged or unconsciously. Educators demonstrated great effort in defining their professional roles as early childhood educators, something that influenced not only their professional understanding, but also their interpretation of the policies and structures of the childcare society, and their personal relationships with both parents and children. Surprisingly, the educators’ opinions about attachment to the children in their care as well as their professional roles and relationships varied a great deal from conventional understandings of attachment theory and relational approaches to teaching. Parents’ expressed ambivalent views about childcare, revealing the tension between work demands and socio-cultural expectations about parenting. Most prominent for families however was that they experienced trusting and supporting relationships with educators.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Margaret MacDonald
Department: 
Education:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Statistics: