Using metaphor to illuminate quality in early childhood education

Marianne Fenech, Linda J. Harrison, Fran Press, Jennifer Sumsion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on a study in which educators from four early childhood centres used metaphor to discuss their provision of high-quality early childhood education. Qualitative mining of focus group data confirmed ‘quality’ to be complex, multi-dimensional and value-laden. Findings contribute to understandings of quality in early childhood education through four key themes: ‘quality’ as a synergetic flow; the facilitative stance and impact of leaders in the enactment of leadership; children as active contributors to quality; and the role of love. Metaphor is shown to be a valuable tool that can highlight tangible and intangible quality contributors, how these contributors link together and the contextual specificity from which quality in individual early childhood education settings emanates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-210
Number of pages14
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number2
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2020


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