Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (708.84 kB)

Reflecting responsiveness: educator reflections on emotion in Montessori infant-toddler education and care

Download (708.84 kB)
posted on 2024-02-22, 06:13 authored by Mairi Gracia Baker

Sensitive, responsive, and attuned interactions with educators provide the foundations for the infant’s cognitive, social and emotional development in early childhood education and care (ECEC). Reflection and reflective practice are foundational to the provision of high quality ECEC settings both within traditional and Montessori practice, however, there is sparse research into the reflective practice of Montessori 0-3 educators. This study examines: 1) how educators in Montessori services reflect on emotion and emotional labour 2) if reflective practice in Montessori early childhood services supports educator responsiveness to infant-toddler emotion. Data were collected through an exploratory online survey. Australian participants were recruited through email invitation to all centre directors of services including the name “Montessori” listed on the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) national early childhood database, via peak bodies and through a Montessori 0-3 professionals’ Facebook page. International participants were recruited though Montessori peak bodies in English speaking countries with a strong Montessori presence and via a Google group for Association Montessori International (AMI) 0-3 qualified educators. The survey invited participants to respond to a series of vignettes and open-ended questions to prompt examples of professional practices and reflections in relation to both their own and infant-toddler emotions. They were then asked to self-assess the frequency of their pedagogical and critical reflection practices for 24 questions adapted from Larrivee (2008), with opportunity to add written comments. A total of 38 educators (23 Australian; 15 international) participated. Written responses were analysed using critical theory and deductively coded to Brookfield’s (1998) four lenses of critical reflection, encompassing: autobiographical lens; child lens; colleague lens; lens of literature. Qualitative analyses showed that participants acknowledged the importance of reflecting through their own lived experiences and personal beliefs - how their autobiography affects the way they receive and respond to information. There was also clear evidence of participants’ considering the child perspective with frequent references to observation as a foundational pedagogical practice to support their ability to meet the needs of the child. Participants also referred to engagement with Montessori and broader academic literature to support their practice. Quantitative analyses revealed high rates of reflective practice by all participants. Comparisons using t-tests showed that having a Montessori qualification and more experience of working in a Montessori environment were more likely to engage more frequently in some aspects of reflective practice.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature review -- Chapter 3: Method -- Chapter 4: Results -- Chapter 5: Discussion -- References -- Appendices

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie School of Education

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Linda Harrison

Additional Supervisor 1

Belinda Davis


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




89 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 279536

Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses


    Ref. manager