Partnerships in early childhood education and care : empowering parents or empowering practitioners
journal contributionposted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Liz RouseLiz Rouse
Research acknowledges that outcomes for young children are enhanced when effective partnerships are developed between educators and families. The Australian Early Years Learning Framework provides direction for the professional practice of early childhood educators by acknowledging the importance of educators working in partnership with families. In the Victorian state-based early years framework, family-centred practice has been included as the practice model. Family-centred practice has as its core a philosophy of professionals supporting the empowerment of parents as active decision makers for their child. The early childhood education and care sector in Australia, however, is made up of a workforce which is largely perceived as being undervalued as a profession. This raises questions as to the capacity of these educators to support the empowerment of parents when they themselves are coming from a position of disempowerment due to their professional status. This article reports on findings from a small-scale study of childhood educators working in a long day-care setting which aimed to identify perceptions of the partnerships that exist between themselves and parents. In the course of the investigation, it became evident that some of educators felt disempowered in the relationships that exist with some families.