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Title: Discourses of Professionalism in Family Day Care
Contributor(s): Cook, Kay (author); Davis, Elise (author); Williamson, Lara (author); Harrison, Linda (author); Sims, Margaret (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.2304/ciec.2013.14.2.112
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Abstract: Family day care in Australia is currently undergoing rapid 'professionalisation' within a national reform agenda that seeks to raise and standardise early childhood service quality. Included within this reform is a requirement that all family day care workers obtain formal qualifications and that workers are referred to as 'educators' rather than 'carers'. This study drew on focus groups and interviews with family day care workers, management, government and industry representatives collected as part of a larger study into family day care workers' capacity to promote children's social and emotional wellbeing. Our analysis identified three discourses of professionalisation within family day care that provide important insights into the sector at a time of significant change. Management promoted workers as 'educators' aligned with a neo-liberal, masculine understanding of professionalism and the objective measures used to assess service quality. This discourse excluded what 'carers' felt were important, subjective and maternal aspects of their service delivery. To reconcile these discursive extremes, some workers took up a discourse that emphasised the requirements of their 'job' and the standards of professionalism required by management. In conclusion, we contend that the take-up of educational discourses in family day care produce and reproduce tensions between 'women's work' and 'masculine professionalism' that undermine the sector's attempts to increase their status and recognition.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 14(2), p. 112-126
Publisher: Symposium Journals
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1463-9491
Field of Research (FOR): 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl Maori)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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