The emotional complexity of attachment interactions in nursery

Jools Page, Peter Elfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In a single intensive nursery case study, using in depth interviews, group discussion and self completed daily diaries, this article reports on staff accounts of the emotional aspects of their interactions with young children. The findings show how much the staff achieved through their empathy for children and families and the establishment of warm, responsive and individual relationships. However, they also reveal how vulnerable these interactions were to discontinuity and disturbance and how much the work was based on an intuitive approach. There was little specification about nursery attachments in theoretical or practical terms to guide staff critical reflection and judgement about managing these close relationships. The findings also indicate the emotional demands on staff of sustaining such emotionally close interactions with very young children. The article concludes acknowledging the logistical and emotional complexity of facilitating consistent, accountable and reflective attachment interactions with young children. It highlights the importance of developing sophisticated management attention to the emotional experience of attachment based pedagogy so that feelings evoked in staff by attachment work can be better understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-567
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2013

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