Professional Development Evening

Professional Development Evening

What's love got to do with it? Pedagogical Love and Care in Early Childhood Education


When: Wednesday 6th November 2019

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm (sign in and finger food from 6pm)

Where: Theatre 1, 10 Hadenfeld Avenue, Macquarie University

Cost: Free. University Parking Permit included with registration

Registration: Closed

Aimed at teachers and educators of children aged birth to 8 years old

For any further information please contact Centre Management:


A substantial evidence-base has highlighted the importance of positive affective relationships between children and their teachers. Drawing on this work, contemporary early childhood education researchers have increasingly come to examine the role of pedagogical love and care in building positive, professional, and ethical relationships with young children in prior-to-school and early-school contexts. There are diverse theoretical bases underpinning notions of pedagogical love and care, diverse terminology (e.g., “professional love”, “affective pedagogy”), and diverse pedagogical practices, yet central to all is the importance of relationship-based education.  Pedagogical love and care is vital both for developing positive and high-quality teacher-child relationships and for supporting children to achieve optimal development.


  • Offers teachers the opportunity to learn how pedagogical love and care can be formalised into their professional practice
  • By outlining recent research literature and offering practical examples regarding the role of pedagogical love and care in supporting positive relationship-based education, this course will contribute to teachers’ understanding of their own practice when forming positive relationships with the children in their care
  • This course will offer teachers the opportunity to learn exactly what is, and is not, meant by pedagogical love and care. We will draw explicitly on the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics and the NSW Department of Education Code of Conduct, to ensure that participants understand pedagogical love and care to be components of a professional relationship and professional practice that is bound by important ethical principles.


Features a panel of early childhood teachers, primary teachers and researchers - offers a forum for teachers to learn about, discuss, and critique the following questions:

  • What do we mean by pedagogical love, and how does it contribute to relationship-based learning in early childhood education?
  • How does pedagogical love and care in professional educational contexts differ from other kinds of care in family/extracurricular contexts?
  • The Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics directs early childhood teachers to “act in the best interests of all children”. How does pedagogical love and care enable this?
  • In what ways is pedagogical love and care important in the relationship between a teacher and child? What do we know from current research?
  • In what ways can early childhood teachers demonstrate pedagogical love and care with all children in their centres and schools?

Ethics Documents:

This Evening in Conversation draws on two ethics documents. We recommend you download and read this prior to attending - wifi will be made available during the evening.

The Panel:

Profile picture of Linda HarrisonProfessor Linda Harrison

Professorial Research Fellow in Early Childhood Education in the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University

Linda is a key researcher on the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), in which she was responsible for examining the quality of educator-child relationships amongst a representative sample of 6,000 Australian children from infancy to mid-childhood. She also has authored several journal articles and book chapters focused on the importance of high-quality teacher-child relationships. Drawing on this work, Linda believes that all children in early childhood contexts have a right to experience professional love. Linda will discuss her longitudinal research findings with participants and will outline how professional (or pedagogical) love is defined in the literature.

Profile picture of Fay HadleyDr Fay Hadley

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Director of Initial Teacher Education in the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University

Fay has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, both as a former centre director and current pre-service teacher educator. Fay’s research examines partnerships with diverse families in educational settings and the impacts this has on educational outcomes for children. She has recently published a new peer-reviewed article on the importance of love and care from the perspective of educators and parents. Fay will discuss her recent research about the importance of pedagogical love to different stakeholders. She will situate this work within the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics.

Profile picture of Melinda FerrisMel Ferris

Lead Early Childhood Teacher at Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre

Mel is an early childhood teacher with more than 15 years of experience in the sector. Drawing on her expertise working with a range of diverse children and families, she believes that all children have a right to love in both their families and their broader communities. Although the professionally-oriented “pedagogical” love of an educator differs in important ways from the love experienced within families, it is meaningful and important. Mel will discuss how she uses traditions, rituals and relationships to contribute to children’s sense of belonging. She also will discuss how professional educators in long day care settings can create genuine and reciprocal engagements with children using responsiveness, kindness, and empathy.

Profile picture of Stephanie SalazarStephanie Salazar

Classroom Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Instructional Coach at John Purchase Public School

Stephanie is the founder of the New Teacher Tribe initiative and #PSTchat, a chat dedicated to supporting pre-service teachers around the world. In 2017 Stephanie won the Executive Director's Recognition Award for Innovation and Creativity in Leading Learning Towards Improved Student Outcomes. Stephanie will discuss how teachers’ professional/pedagogical love and care in early childhood contexts can support children in the transition from prior-to-school to primary school. She will also discuss the importance of early childhood and early stage 1 teachers maintaining professional boundaries and will situate this discussion within the NSW Department of Education Code of Conduct.

NSW government logo

Completing this Evening in Conversation will contribute to 2 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 6.2.2, 6.2.2 and 7.1.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW. You must provide your NESA number during registration to validate your accreditation

Getting to Macquarie:

Public transport services to the University extend right across Sydney and there are over 4,500 parking spaces at Macquarie University.

Free University Parking Permits are included with registration - we recommend you park in West 4 where it is a short walk across the road to 10 Hadenfeld Avenue.

Map of campus

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