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I Am Here For You
September 9, 2021
Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
-Julie Andrews, English film and stage actress
When Carol Garboden Murray talks about the concept of care in her book, Illuminating Care: The Pedagogy of Care in Early Childhood Communities, she is referring to the daily tasks (diapering, dressing, eating together…) that are often mistakenly devalued. She writes:

“Imagine the difference between the early childhood teacher who treats care as drudgery – and the one who treats care as education and honors care as an intellectual exchange.”

In an Exchange Essentials article collection, “Aspects of Infant and Toddler Care,” Elsa Chahin writes about the importance of how care is offered to young children, whose “well-being will depend, in great part, on the way he is touched by the adults. Through the use of our hands we bathe, feed, and dress these precious souls…If they are rough, impersonal, and rushed during moments of care…he may look forward to finishing the task by exhibiting resistance…When hands are loving, mindful and attentive…the adult’s attention is fully given to the child she is caring for…

The message needs to be, ‘I am here for you, nothing else matters in this moment but you, I see you, I hear you, I am here.’”

Illuminating Care:
The Pedagogy and Practice of Care in
Early Childhood Communities

Illuminating Care: The Pedagogy and Practice of Care in Early Childhood Communities is a powerful exploration of caregiving as a vital component of education and child development and a crucial building block of human community and society.

Carol Garboden Murray meaningfully invites educators, parents and caregivers to experience the essential strength and value of their care for young children, the artistry and integrity of it, in the routines of daily life.


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Comments (4)

Displaying All 4 Comments
Letitia Lehmann · September 09, 2021
Chicago, IL, United States

YES, YES, YES. One thousand times yes. Even as an adult, to have someone's undivided attention, to be fully attended to by another human being, is a beautiful and peaceful moment.
I must also say that as carers, teachers, educators what you care to be called, we are tasked with many many responsibilities. Those responsibilities often times do not align with the goal of our work, or they don't permit the ability to fully delve into the one on one interaction we wish to provide for the health and welfare of those in our charge. It seems to me, if there was a way to not only align responsibilities from the entities that provide not only finances, but also requirements and the supports needed to complete what is required by others we would
be more able to give the time, interactions and solitary nurturing needed for all interactions. Not only for the young child, but also for the carer. It is a reciprocal engaging in every look, touch and talk that creates the bond between two parties. Both are fed by the interaction so both continue to crave interactions with the expectation of nurturing, supportive and life giving moments. I want to live in a world that is trusting and understanding to the needs of each other. However there seems to be so much conflict in being able to achieve the goals we have for our interactions. Peace to all who continue to strive for the best they can do within the constraints of their responsibilities.

Francis Wardle · September 09, 2021
Center for the Study of Biracial Children
Denver, Colorado, United States

Unfortunately, all the ECE standards focus on language and cognitive growth, without emphasizing the critical importance of care. Interestingly there is currently a discussion on ECE standards in the NAEYC online blog. Only one person in the discussion even suggested that these standards are not necessarily good, and her perspective is one of cultural diversity. We have to radically revise all of the ECE standards, to make care and validating each child our central purpose!

Tiffany Peckham · September 09, 2021
Lincoln, NE, United States

Ande, I loved reading your comment! I found as a teacher that validating a child during so many aspects of the day was crucial for me as well.

-Tiffany at Exchange Press

Ande Klein · September 09, 2021
One World Preschools
Pompano Beach, FL, United States

I’m going to use this article as part of an In-Service training for my Staff .. I’ve been talking a lot about slowing down and spending more time really being with the children .. to be more present in their play !! And in my Infant and Toddler classrooms the teachers are singing Nursery Rhymes while changing diapers ???? so that there is interaction with each child …
Making a child feel validated and heard is the goal and being there physically and emotionally for them is the way to achieve this ..

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