Infant–toddler teachers’ compassionate pedagogies for emotionally intense experiences

Gloria Quinones, Maria Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper examines compassionate pedagogies in relation to an emotionally intense experience in a long day-care centre. Video observations were made of international preservice teachers undertaking an infant–toddler professional experience in Australia. The study is informed by Vygotsky’s cultural–historical concept of emotional experience [perezhivanie]. The analysis involves a situation where a toddler is crying and a pre-service teacher is providing support. Findings show that the pre-service teacher made intuitive attempts to show an embodied compassion (e.g. touch), but also needed compassion from her mentor teachers to navigate this experience. Implications include recognition that preservice teachers’ intuitive responses to affectionate touch are starting points for enacting compassionate pedagogies. Pre-service teachers’ approach to holding hands as a physical and compassionate form of touch may be helpful for navigating emotionally intense experiences. However, preservice teachers need more intentional support from mentors to develop compassionate pedagogies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Years
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • compassion
  • cultural–historical theory
  • emotions
  • Infant–toddler pedagogy
  • pre-service teachers

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