Ethics of Care in Practice: An Observational Study of Interactions and Power Relations between Children and Educators in Urban Ontario Early Childhood Settings

  • Rachel Langford
  • Brooke Richardson
Keywords: care, ethics of care, early childhood education, observation study


This article explores observations of care practices in interactions between early childhood educators and children in two urban early childhood settings in Ontario. Analysis of these care practices is informed by a feminist ethics of care. Findings show that the care actions of educators were more often instrumental in nature, often incomplete, and/ or interrupted. Children’s experience with and perspectives on their care were not taken into consideration. Structural factors such as staffing levels appeared to interfere significantly with the possibility of care as conceptualized from a feminist ethics of care framework. Practice and policy implications for the absence and presence of an ethics of care in Canadian early childhood settings are discussed.

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