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Using metaphor to illuminate quality in early childhood education

Fenech, Marianne and Harrison, Linda J and Press, Fran and Sumsion, Jennifer (2020) Using metaphor to illuminate quality in early childhood education. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood. p. 183693912091848. ISSN 1836-9391

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study in which educators from four early childhood centres used metaphor to discuss their provision of high-quality early childhood education. Qualitative mining of focus group data confirmed ‘quality’ to be complex, multi-dimensional and value-laden. Findings contribute to understandings of quality in early childhood education through four key themes: ‘quality’ as a synergetic flow; the facilitative stance and impact of leaders in the enactment of leadership; children as active contributors to quality; and the role of love. Metaphor is shown to be a valuable tool that can highlight tangible and intangible quality contributors, how these contributors link together and the contextual specificity from which quality in individual early childhood education settings emanates.

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