Jools Page discusses the concept of care with Ann Clare

Care is one of the three core concepts in the Professional Love in Early Years Settings research.
The other two are Love and Intimacy.

These concepts are applied in the Attachment Toolkit.


AC: Can we now look please about the constructions of care as opposed to intimacy. Can you tell us more about that?

JP: Yes, I think that ‘care’ is obviously a word that is commonly used in Early Years Practitioner’s language. practitioners are paid to care and to educate young children, so therefore it’s a set of skills that they would expect to hold. care in education is inseparable in terms of policy language and so therefore they are very familiar with this terminology, but when it comes to deciding where care sits alongside intimacy and love I think it becomes much more problematic, and, this is something again we wanted to try to understand, in the project, is the difference – or is there a difference – between care and love and where does that sit within this construct of care and understanding about love.

AC: Going back to, you say, there is a difficulty about unpicking, can you unpick that a little bit more, about care and how it sits within settings?

JP: I think the challenge here, Ann, is that, because there is this, sense that care is a, erm as I say, a commonly used phrase, it’s a commonly used term, and so therefore it’s one that practitioners are comfortable with. They see it written down, it’s one that is used in their everyday practice, and they feel comfortable with it – it doesn’t feel such an emotionally laden term, such as ‘love’ and ‘intimacy’, so therefore they feel comfortable using that term. So in the project what we wanted to do was to find out what do they mean by care? Do they think there’s a difference between care and love? And if so, what is it? And this has been some of the challenge for them to be able to reflect on and think about this. Not only the terminology but what emotions are evoked when they start to think about these, these phrases.

AC: So do you think that some of them are definitely caught, if you like, marking a line between the words ‘love’ and ‘care’? So instead of saying, ‘I love you’ they would say ‘I care for you’?

JP: I think for some practitioners, they, feel uncomfortable using terms which they have been led to believe someway, even if it may just be in their own minds, that erm ‘love’ is not a word that is necessarily appropriate to use in professional roles with young children, that even if they feel comfortable with the word, they may use ‘care’ instead, or ‘deep caring’ is a term that I’ve come across before, or ‘I very deeply care’ about a child, but when erm we started to try to understand that and what that ‘deep caring’ might be, it seems to fit with some of the notions and the constructs of love that are coming forward in what other people might construct as love, and certainly within the theorising of that, within my understanding, the theories that I have been using in my own work.

AC: Thank you.