Children's right to love is a recognised fundamental human need set down within the 1992 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This recognition stems from an acknowledgement that the Early Years of Development are emotionally driven (Degotardi, S., & Sweller, N. (2012). Mind-mindedness in infant child-care: Associations with early childhood practitioner sensitivity and stimulation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(2), 253–265. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2011.09.002.). Young children respond best to those with whom they experience love and acceptance (Carter, M. A., & Fewster, C. (2013). Diversifying early years’ professional learning: One size no longer fits all. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(1), 73–⁠80.). As such, love in the classroom is important as an empowering agent of children's well-being and achievement. Children’s need and right to be surrounded by love poses a challenge for many early childhood teachers as they strive to meet the emotional needs of children within a professional care-based relationship (Goldstein, J. (2012). Children’s development, health and well-being. Waterloo, Brussels: Toy Industries of Europe (TIE); Walsh, K., & Brandon, L. (2012). Their children’s first educators: Parents’ views about child sexual abuse prevention education. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(5), 734–746. doi:10.1007/s10826-011-9526-4.). This research presents pre-service teachers’ perspectives on love in early childhood education; their definitions, their understanding of its role within the development, and their visions of how it can be actualised within their practice.


early childhood, pre-service teachers, pedagogical love, love in education, care in education, relational pedagogy

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