Professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care

  • Overview


Margaret Sims, The Univeristy of New England, Australia
Antje Rothe, University of Hanover, Germany
Mary Maloney, Mary Immaculate College, Ireland


In many countries of the world, the expansion and further development of the early childhood care and education system is linked to a terminology of ‘profession’. Curricula, or national pedagogical frameworks, have been introduced as a means to foster professional practice. Qualifications, in-service training/education and an increasing number of university degrees are contributing to the notion that there is a profession in early childhood and an associated need for ‘professional’ development.

Yet (at least from our point of view), there is far less understanding about what ‘profession’ in Early Childhood is all about. Do we really understand what it means to act ‘professionally?’

  • in a rapidly changing society where settings and situations are continuously changing, in social contexts and groups which tend to be chaotic as they organize and re-organize themselves, continuously forming patterns and relations which cannot be predicted or controlled?
  • with a broad variety of people (children and adults) who pursue various interests?
  • when we know that teachers act first as human beings with a personal history and generate their ‘actionable knowledge’ (Argyris) everyday.

The SIG on professionalism in early childhood wants to address these (and other relevant) questions. We suggest paying special attention to the development of what might be called a professional habitus. And while we find that these questions can be cross-nationally addressed and reflected upon, we must be aware that ‘acting’ as a professional can only be done in the specific local context. Under these conditions, the SIG can be a place for ‘shared thinking’ and for creating synergies rather than for producing universally valid outcomes.


Click here to view the 2017-18 report (pdf) Margaret Sims and Cynthia Buettner
Click here to view the 2011-12 report (pdf) Carmen Dalli and Mathias Urban