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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Journal of Early Childhood Research, February 2022


This research focussed on documenting the praxis and paedagogy of paid, professional childminding (family childcare/day care) in Ireland. It explored professionalism and professionalisation among childminders in the context of the evolving understanding of professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) nationally and internationally. The research was conducted within the framework of Ecocultural Theory (ECT) on the eve of mandatory regulation of childminding against the backdrop of Irish ECEC policy. A mixed method approach was adopted, using the Ecocultural Family Interview for Childminders (EFICh), including participants’ photographs, case study surveys, researcher field notes and holistic ratings. We present findings related to childminder professionalism and professionalisation, highlighting its significant differences from centre-based provision. It is vital to understand childminding as an ecocultural adaptation to create a stable family niche, relationally and economically. It helps to explain childminders’ approach to just-in-time training as adult learners, their desire for public recognition of childminding’s differences and unique value, and their need for supportive supervision in their family home ahead of annual inspection. Imposed professionalism is rejected in favour of a participatory approach sensitive to agentic childminders’ professional development. To support and develop professional 21st century childminding, Ireland requires a tailored regulatory system specific to childminding.



Irish Research Council