Unnoticed Professional Competence in Day Care Work

Annegrethe Ahrenkiel, Camilla Schmidt, Birger Steen Nielsen, Finn Sommer, Niels Warring


This article presents a double perspective on social educators’ professional competence: It discusses
how everyday life in day care centres (preschools) is dependent on professional competences
that can be conceived as “unnoticed.” These aspects of professional competence are embedded
in routines, experiences and embodied forms of knowledge. However, it may be discussed whether
these competences are under pressure from increased demands for documentation, standardization
and evaluation of children’s learning outcomes. The article will briefly outline this development
in the day care sector, followed by a discussion of unnoticed professional competence and the
related notion of gestural knowledge. The double perspective on social educators’ professional
competences will be illuminated by empirical examples from a research project involving social
educators from two day care centres in Denmark.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v3i2.2551