We're Not Robots

The Voices of Daycare Providers

By Enid Elliot
Foreword by Janet Gonzalez-Mena

Subjects: Early Childhood Studies
Series: SUNY series, Early Childhood Education: Inquiries and Insights
Paperback : 9780791469422, 211 pages, November 2006
Hardcover : 9780791469415, 211 pages, November 2006

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Table of contents


Foreword by Janet Gonzalez-Mena

1. Relationship with a Baby

2. The Pull to Attach

3. Caring for Attachment

4. The Public Story of Caregiving

5. Practitioner to Researcher: Telling Stories

6. Responsive Caregiving

7. Hearing from the Caregivers

8. Places of Difficulty

9. Supportive Contexts

10. Conclusion

Works Cited

Raises provocative questions about how we care for infants and toddlers, and how to provide education and support for their caregivers.


This fascinating book presents the stories of infant/toddler caregivers and their work to illustrate the complexity of balancing relationships with babies, families, coworkers, and self, yet remaining emotionally present and mindfully engaged. Enid Elliot explores the inevitable tensions of working within these various relationships and demonstrates how proficient caregivers can develop strategies for achieving this delicate balance. In the process, she raises provocative questions about how we care for babies, and how to provide education and support for their caregivers.

Enid Elliot is an independent scholar who received her Ph. D. in Early Childhood Education at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She has extensive experience as a daycare provider in Turkey, the United States, and Canada.


"Enid Elliot has produced an innovative offering to a field inundated with the theories of learning and development. This book is like the flower that blossoms up through the crack in the cement. It is early learning and care. Both are imperative. " — Policy and Practice in Education

"Rather than offering solutions or recommendations for practice, despite feeling very strongly about the issues she discusses, Elliot encourages early years practitioners to go through the process of reflecting on the issues she raises because the process itself is of key importance. In a climate where there are constant initiatives to respond to, the message contained here is one that needs to be heard by policy-makers and managers as well as practitioners themselves. " — Early Years

"We're Not Robots is a wake-up call. Caregivers with the understanding, knowledge, and skills Elliot describes are the exception at present, not the norm … As a society we need to be sure that all infants and toddlers who spend their days in out-of-home environments have the quality of care that this book shows is possible. " — from the Foreword by Janet Gonzalez-Mena

"All too often the voices of early childhood caregivers are silenced, while the voices of 'experts' are privileged. This text joins a small but growing body of literature that seeks to challenge the inequitable ways that caregivers are positioned within relationships of power and knowledge. " — Sue Novinger, State University of New York at Brockport

"The author combines interdisciplinary scholarship with years of thoughtful experience in the field to create an engaging examination of many issues currently challenging and rewarding infant/toddler caregivers. Elliot's interpretations of the caregivers' interview responses are exceptional because she is able to relate them to her own experiences, current thinking, and past research. This book is a lovely combination of narrative and theoretical research. " — Carla Poole, Bank Street College of Education