Untangling the knots – [k]not easy: professional identity in the early childhood care and education sector
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Those working in the Early Childhood Care and Education sector have struggled for professional recognition and status. While professional identity, or lack of it, is associated with a multiplicity of factors, this paper explores the interplay of gender, knowledge and skills, qualifications, integrated systems and vested interests. It compares the identity of teachers with that of early childhood educators, and considers how ECCE can be elevated to the same level as teaching. It also critiques recent policy initiatives such as the introduction of a minimum training requirement for those working in the sector, and the impending involvement of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) in the inspection of settings participating in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme. Finally, this paper calls for reform of the ECCE sector including consideration of pay parity with teachers.
Early childhood care and education