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Exploring a cyclical model of professional development: Insights from childminders

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posted on 2023-08-30, 18:50 authored by Kay Aaronricks
Childminders are key contributors to early childhood education and care, in England. They employ a distinct pedagogical approach and are required by the Early Years Foundation Stage framework to be accountable for their own professional development. Yet, their voices are scarce throughout research. This thesis presents work undertaken with a group of childminders, in the East of England that explores the ways in which professional development activities could be improved, to better suit childminders’ particular requirements. This research builds upon UK studies of childminders and research into professional development, in early childhood education and care. A collaborative, interpretive approach to an action research enquiry is presented, in which the childminders contribute their insights, through ongoing reflection and evaluation of a cyclical approach to professional development. Collection of data emerged through reflection on workshop activities and opportunities for the childminders to develop and document practice. Crystallization is utilised as an approach that promotes the co-creation of multiple understandings and representation of data, through collaborative opportunities for analysis. Childminders make existing challenges visible and share insights into their experience of an alternative approach to professional development. The findings demonstrate their reflections, presented across five dimensions: approach; content; delivery; affect; and effect of their participation. A three stage, cyclical model of professional development, is proposed to better meet childminders’ distinctive needs and that has the potential to create communities of practice and build networks of support. Childminders can and should have a voice in research and in issues that affect them. They offer a distinctive approach to providing care and education for children from birth, from a base of their family home and within a local community. This research offers inspiration for a contextualised and community-based approach to professional development, one that is childminder-led, supportive and reflective, within an ever changing policy landscape.



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