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In this paper, we explore the complex nature of preparing diverse professionals for authentic, relationship-based care for infants and toddlers in child care. Looking through the eyes of one student caregiver, we travel with her through a semester-long course introducing her to infant care as an integral part of early childhood teacher preparation. We draw on her descriptions of her weekly experiences in an infant room focusing on a key child, her formal reflections in written assignments, and her responses to a series of interview questions once the course was completed to construct a theory of authentic practice through relationship-based teaching and caring. Bringing together the theoretical frames of funds of identity and use of self in authentic practice, we explore the ways that teacher identity unfolds and potentially changes through practice, feedback, and reflective engagement. Our analysis reveals the power of relationship-based learning as a framework for educating diverse teachers for quality infant care.

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Occasional Paper Series

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