Educators listening and partnering with parents: recognising parental wellbeing and agency

Fay Hadley, Elizabeth Rouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Focusing on listening to and partnering with parents authentically, this article explores how one early childhood school, located in a major Australian city, recognised the importance of parental wellbeing and agency. In Australia, the national Early Years Learning Framework positions parents as children’s first and most influential teachers, and the educators’ role is to create an environment where parents are actively encouraged to collaborate on curriculum decisions. However, when parents are positioned as ‘co-teachers’ in their child’s learning, they are considered responsible for ensuring children’s educational success, and educators may see their role as informing parents about ways to better educate their child at home. This deficit position requires parents to work with the educators in meeting children’s learning needs, creating a power imbalance. A qualitative methodology was applied to explore the complexity of parent-educator partnerships, drawing on the voices of both parents and educators. Parents in this study felt listened to and connected with the educators. Educators recognised the strengths they brought as both parents and as people, contributing to their wellbeing as it shifted the spotlight to who they are in their child/ren’s lives, rather than focusing on what they do to influence their child/ren’s learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
JournalNew Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • parent partnerships
  • wellbeing
  • early childhood education
  • identity
  • sense of self


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