Early childhood staff and families' perceptions

Diverse views about important experiences for children aged 3-5 years in early childhood settings

Fay Hadley*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    There is a growing body of literature about the potential for early childhood settings to serve as community hubs to develop relationships with families. However, there is limited information about the ways in which families and early childhood staff interface in defining what constitutes 'quality' within settings. Researchers have rarely studied families in relation to the development of curriculum and pedagogical practices in early childhood settings. Consequently, the strategies that could assist staff in making meaningful connections with families are not prominent in the current literature. The author's doctoral research explored families' perceptions of the support they received from the early childhood setting and in particular examined the nature of the connections between families and early childhood settings. This article reports the findings from Phase 2 of the study, where the views of 58 Australian families and 22 staff working in five long day care centres in the state of New South Wales, Australia, were surveyed about the types of experiences they valued for children in early childhood settings. The findings revealed differing perspectives between families and staff in terms of the experiences they valued in the early childhood setting, as well as in the levels of communication occurring between families and staff about children and the educational program. It is understandable that both families and staff will have diverse views and beliefs (depending on level of training and experience) about what is important in the early childhood setting. This research study provides insights into perceptions of families and staff, and has implications for the ways in which connections could be formed and relationships built with families in early childhood settings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)38-49
    Number of pages12
    JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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