A case study of the generation and benefits of a community of practice and its impact on the professional identity of early childhood teachers

Jane Kirkby, Lucas Walsh, Anne Keary

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This case study explores the development of a community of practice (CoP) of early childhood (EC) teachers following the introduction of a screening process for pre-school children. Empirical insights arising from a project show how EC teachers engaged with Allied Health Professionals to undertake inter-professional work to address the potential impacts of disadvantage on young learners. The inter-professional project aimed to create opportunities for program enhancement for the participating kindergartens in an identified vulnerable community. The lens of Wenger’s Communities of Practice was used for data analysis of the interview and focus group data collected to inform this discussion. A number of benefits arose during the course of this case study, as the development of the CoP had flow-on effects to individual and collective practice, including engagement with stakeholders, such as parents. Another benefit, and second focal point of this paper, was how the development of a CoP impacted on the professional identity of the teachers involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • communities of practice
  • discontinuities
  • inter-professional work
  • professional knowledge
  • Teacher identity

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