Poverty Narratives in Early Childhood Education and Care

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


1.Research aims or questions
This research project aimed to gain insights into the impact of ten years of austerity and the pandemic on practitioners understanding of child poverty and how practice was mediating it in Early Childhood Education and Care settings.

2. Relationship to previous studies by others and self
This research builds on the work of Simpson, Lumsden and McDowell, 2015a; Simpson, Lumsden and McDowell, 2015b; Simpson et al., 2017; Simpson et al., 2018 into pre-school practitioners’ perspectives about child poverty and the ways they engage with parents and children in poverty.

3. Theoretical and conceptual framework of research
The theoretical framework underpinning this research is based on the Bioecological Theory of Human Development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; 2005). It specifically draws upon the Process-Person-Context-Time Model (PPCT) (Lerner, 2005:xv) and the undertheorised Chaos System (Bronfenbrenner and Evans, 2000, Bronfenbrenner 2002; Lumsden, 2012)

4. Paradigm, methodology and methods
This interpretive study adopted a qualitative methodology and undertook 37 semi-structured with senior practitioners and Early Years Teachers across the Midlands and South of England.

5. Ethical Considerations
The researchers were aware of the sensitive nature of this research and ensured that the ethical protocol safeguarded participants through providing written information about the research, their confidentiality and how the data would be used anonymised and their right to withdraw up to thirty days after their interview.

6. Main finding or discussion
Three themes emerged that reflected poverty sensitivity, poverty insensitivity and ‘othering’, where judgements were made about families experiencing poverty and the quality of their parenting

7. Implications, practice or policy
The findings indicate that while there is some exemplary practice there are some uncomfortable issues that need to be addressed through leadership, training and supervision to ensure that

The research unintentionally coincided with the start of the pandemic and therefore provided insights into practitioners understanding of poverty, how it was mediated in practice and the impact of COVID.
Period23 Feb 2022
Event titleEarly Childhood Education and Ecological Sustainability
Event typeConference


  • Child poverty
  • Poverty sensitivity
  • Poverty insensitivity