Next event, Wednesday 5 April, 4pm: ‘Love, Passion and Professionalism: The Early Years Lead Professional’

The Network’s next presentation will be given by Jane Malcolm, a PhD Candidate in Education, on ‘Love, Passion and Professionalism: The Early Years Lead Professional.’

When: Wednesday, 5 April 2017, 4:00 – 5:00 pm

Where: Charteris Land, Room 4.02, Moray House School of Education, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AQ University of Edinburgh


Murray (2013) talks of an internal view of professional self-being crucial because it is based on individual values and informs practice. She argues that this internal view is what allows the Early Years Lead Professional to practice their profession with integrity.  This raised a question concerning whether having the freedom to care with passion and love is critical to inspiring professionalism (Moyles, 2010) and whether personal values and principles are an integral part of their development of professional identities. Research tells us of the importance to development of love; Zeedyk (2016) argues that “young human brains are wired: for relationships, for love” and Bowlby (1953:240) describes love in infancy and childhood as being “as important for mental health as are vitamins and proteins for physical health.” My research boldly argues that love should be recognised as a professional standard. In response to a recent review the Scottish Government has redesigned the inspection methodology to take account of measuring “softer” outcomes, such as love and care, (Scot Gov, 2015:10). At present it would appear, through the data collected for this project to-date, that interpretation of these “softer outcomes” amongst Professionals varies. Although all Professionals interviewed agreed that relationships and love were important.

My research therefore seeks to pose questions and stimulate discussion, through interviews and reflective practice diaries, around how professionals engage with the “softer outcomes”, e.g. of love and passion, in their work. And what “softer outcomes” mean for professional standards and the delivery of services to children and families.

Key words: love, professionalism, early-years, values, relationships.


Bowlby, J (1953) Childcare and the Growth of Love. Open University: Middlesex.

Moyles, (2010) Passion, Paradox and Professionalism in Early Years Eduction. Early Years: An International Research Journal. 21 (2) 81-95

Murray (2013) Becoming an early years professional: developing a new professional identity. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 21 (4) 527 – 540.

Scot Gov, (2015) Scottish Government Response to an Independent Review of the Scottish Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) and Out of School Care (OSC) workforce. The Scottish Government: Edinburgh.

Zeedyk, S (2016) How childcare Policies are undermining our children’s capacity to love. Blog Entry,