Becoming an Infant Caregiver: Three Profiles of Personal and Professional Growth
AuthorRecchia, Susan L.
SourceJournal of Research in Childhood Education
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This study focused on the first year process of personal and professional growth for three student-caregivers as they began working with infants and families in child care. Qualitative case study analyses of the participants' first-semester notebooks and second-semester interviews revealed universal and individual themes that support and expand on previous findings, informing our understanding of the experiences of new infant/toddler caregivers. Findings from this study suggest that new infant caregivers experience many of the same thoughts and feelings that have been documented in the literature on new teachers. These new infant caregivers were concerned about their relationships with children, their interactions with parents, and their need for support from their environment; in addition, they were concerned with learning the routines and procedures of the classroom and developing a sense of themselves as caregivers. However, there are also some distinct differences in the nature and structure of work with infants and families that posed special challenges for these novice infant caregivers. Among them were adjusting to the physical and emotional intensity of nurturing such very young children, the need for new practical and theoretical knowledge about working with infants and families in the earliest years, the challenge of setting limits for children who are so young and nonverbal, and the need for ongoing collaboration and community building as they worked with others to provide continuity of care. Findings are discussed with reference to implications for caregiver training and suggestions for future research. ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]; Copyright of Journal of Research in Childhood Education is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)