The professional role of key persons using symbolic gesturing and their perspectives on its value in supporting the emotional relationship with infants in day nursery.
University of Southampton, School of Education,
This thesis examined key persons‟ views about the effect of symbolic gesturing to positively influence the emotional relationships between themselves and the infants they care for in day nursery. Having reviewed the literature, this thesis builds on both the professional and emotional key persons‟ role with the infants in their care in nursery and how symbolic gesturing as an approach during interactions might enhance those attachments. Its originality is situated in the way it explores symbolic gesturing in the context of a day nursery from an emotional perspective rather than a communicative aid to develop infants‟ literacy skills. Using a case study approach, which employed biographical accounts of three key persons‟, observations and documentation their journey was documented as they used symbolic gesturing during a three month period. It considered what impact symbolic gesturing had on their practice and whether their emotional relationships with the infants they cared for were enhanced as a result of its implementation. The thematic analysis of the biographical journeys revealed symbolic gesturing was a valuable approach in enhancing emotional relationships with infants as long as it was implemented in a flexible way and its use was navigated by the key persons. The influence of symbolic gesturing was apparent in the key persons‟ changes of perceptions and reflections within the pre and post interviews and to a lesser extent from observational data. Documentation was used to contextualise the role of the key persons in a day nursery and more widely within local and national policy and legislation. The thesis concludes by making a number of recommendations about the use of symbolic gesturing for practice in day nurseries.
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