About this event

Thursday 9th February – 1.00pm – 2.00pm


Hearing the baby’s voice in early years practice – establishing unhurried moments of connection with babies

With increased numbers of under two year olds attending Early Years settings, it is important that the voices of babies are acknowledged and respected in the practices enacted by Early Childhood Educators. Voice plays a significant role in fostering a sense of belonging in new social surroundings, particularly through the relational interactions that unfold with others. In this session, Caroline will share findings from her research which foregrounds how the voices of babies are made visible through their interactions with educators. The study found that babies work hard to draw educators into communications and employ strategic and intentional modes of voice, that silently ripple beneath the surface of typical baby room practice. Significantly, the visibility of voice was entangled within the cultural and societal aspects of nursery practice.

Caroline will introduce her concept of Adagio Interactions which seeks to make visible the unhurried moments of interaction between babies and educators. Adopting Adagio Interactions increases the complexity of babies’ voice acts and validates children’s position in nursery. Caroline’s research reveals that sourcing moments to be with babies dialogically offers scope to enhance early relationships in professional settings and can validate the emotionally complex work involved with caring for babies. Caroline will share some practical tips to aid slowing early years practice ‘to a walking pace’ to help enrich moments of close, dialogically respectful interactions with babies. Caroline hopes this session will advance cross sector dialogue and promote opportunity for the early years workforce to make richer connections between infant mental health and experiences in full day care. Caroline’s recent PhD was generously sponsored by The Froebel Trust, London https://www.froebel.org.uk/


Bio of Caroline Guard

Caroline Guard is a Senior Lecturer in Early Education at Kingston University, London and a PhD Candidate at the University of Roehampton. Since 2009, Caroline has taught on work based early years degree programmes in Higher Education, promoting the links between practice, theory and policy to Early Childhood Educators and Early Years Teachers. With over twenty years experience in the early years sector, in her early career as a teacher and nursery manager, Caroline noted the challenges faced enacting quality practice in baby rooms and became concerned about how babies were positioned in policy and practice. A move into Higher Education further emphasised these concerns as she observed practice and listened to student reflections of baby room experiences. Caroline’s PhD research, sponsored by The Froebel Trust in London, focusses on amplifying the voices of babies attending full day care settings by working dialogically with early childhood educators to review and reflect on interactions with very young children. Having committed her entire career to early years education, Caroline is passionate to use her research findings to draw attention to babies’ proficiency of voice and highlight the complex and highly emotional work educators undertake in baby rooms.


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