Early childhood educators’ perceptions of parent–child relationships:
A qualitative study

Amanda O’Connor, Andrea Nolan, Heidi Bergmeier, Janet Williams-Smith and Helen Skouteris

Parent–child relationships are the most critical for children’s social and emotional development and wellbeing. While parent–child relationship support programs are well documented, there are none designed for educators’ use within early education and care settings. To inform development of an educator program, an understanding of educators’ everyday practices, their role in supporting parent–child relationships and children’s social and emotional development was sought. Educators reported the importance of parent–child relationships, yet were hesitant to engage with parents. Educators’ knowledge was primarily implicit—drawing on observations and practical experiences to build their knowledge of relationships and social and emotional development—which contributed to reluctance in sharing their knowledge with parents. Educators requested theoretical, evidence-based approaches to build further knowledge and inform everyday practices in supporting parent–child relationships. These findings are critical to the development of an educator-led parent–child relationship program for use within education and care settings.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 43 Number 1 March 2018.

Don’t forget, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood is tax deductible for early childhood professionals.