Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Sociology, Demography, Anthropology, Social issues, Family studies, Social work.

Publication Details

SUBMITTED FOR THE AWARD OF PHD AT THE TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY DUBLIN

Abstract

The present study seeks to address the dearth of research focussed on childminding in Ireland, despite its significant role in national childcare provision. The overarching aims of this research are to interrogate the concept of professionalism and to explore the cultural models and praxis of childminders. The research has been conducted in an ecological theoretical framework: Ecocultural Theory (ECT) (Weisner 1993, 2002) predominantly, also referencing Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-Ecological Model (2006) and Attachment Theory. The history of childminding and current policy in Ireland, Europe and the USA are reviewed, including an overview of international research into childminding in the last 30 years. The study employed a mixed method approach including an online survey, and a World Café Forum initially before adapting the Ecocultural Family Interview for Childminders (EFICh), which included holistic ratings, photographs, field notes and a case study survey, to gain an in-depth picture of childminders’ practices. Findings show significant professionalisation among childminders and willingness to engage in a sensitive regulatory system, once aligned with childminders’ values and cultural models. In particular, two prevalent cultural models were identified: a Close Relationship model and a Real Life Learning model of pedagogy among childminders in the study. Any proposed national system of regulation, support, and education for childminders should be aligned with these cultural models if it is to prove meaningful, congruent and sustainable for childminders and parents, and maximise the benefits of childminding for children in the 21st century.

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