Navigating the process of building parent-teacher partnerships: Experiences of early childhood pre-service teachers

Keywords: Parent engagement, Pre-service teachers, Teacher preparation, Early childhood, Parent-teacher partnerships


This study utilized the qualitative phenomenological approach to explore pre -service teachers’ experiences in their engagement with parents of young children as they practiced building partnerships with parents. Pre-service teachers (N=50) were each assigned a preschool child with whom they interacted together with the child’s parents and teacher; completing a semester-long assignment created within a family, schools and community course for students in an early childhood teacher preparation program. Pre-service teachers’ responses to a survey and their final written reflections were analyzed using the process of axial and open coding. Results indicated the importance of communication and understanding different dynamics and challenges in parent-teacher partnerships. Therefore, educators should continuously strive to equip pre-service teachers with the skills they will need to succeed as they work with schools, the community and especially in their work with parents.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Bartels, S. M., & Eskow, K. G. (2010). Training school professionals to engage families: A pilot university/state department of education partnership. School Community Journal, 20(2), 45-71.

Bofferding, L., Kastberg, S., & Hoffman, A. (2016). Family mathematics nights: An opportunity to improve preservice teachers' understanding of parents' roles and expectations. School Science & Mathematics, 116(1), 17-28. DOI:

Brown, A., Harris, M., Jacobson, A., & Trotti, J. (2014). Parent teacher education connection: preparing preservice teachers for family engagement. The Teacher Educator, 49(2), 133-151. DOI:

Buchanan, K. & Buchanan, T. (2019). Preparing teacher candidates to collaborate with families and communities: Standards, research, and practice. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, 14(1) Article 6. DOI:

Coleman, M. (2013). Empowering family-teacher partnerships: Building connections with diverse communities. Los Angeles: Sage.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

de Bruïne, E. J., Willemse, T. M., D'Haem, J., Griswold, P., Vloeberghs, L., & Van Eynde, S. (2014). Preparing teacher candidates for family-school partnerships. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(4), 409-425. DOI:

de Bruïne, E., Willemse, T. M., Franssens, J., van Eynde, S., Vloeberghs, L., & Vandermarliere, L. (2018). Small-scale curriculum changes for improving preservice teachers' preparation for Family-School Partnerships. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(3), 381-396. DOI:

Delgado-Gaitan, C. (2007). Fostering Latino parent involvement in the schools: Practices and partnerships. In Paik, S. J. & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.). Narrowing the achievement gap: Strategies for educating Latino, Black, and Asian students. (pp.17-32). NY: Springer.

Desforges, C., & Abouchaar, A. (2003). The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievements and adjustment: A literature review (Research report, no. 433). Nottingham: DfES.

D'Haem, J., & Griswold, P. (2017). Teacher educators' and student teachers' beliefs about preparation for working with families including those from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Education and Urban Society, 49(1), 81-109. DOI:

Epstein, J. L. (1994). Family math that's above average. Take-home activities for kids and their parents. Instructor, 103(8), 17-18.

Epstein, J. L. (1995). School-Family-Community Partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(9), 701-712.

Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: preparing educators and improving schools (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Westview Press.

Epstein, J. L. (2011). School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Westview Press.

Epstein, J. L. (2018). School, family and community partnerships in teachers' professional work. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(3), 397-406. DOI:

Epstein, J. L., & Sanders, M. G. (2006). Prospects for change: Preparing educators for school, family, and community partnerships. Peabody journal of Education, 81(2), 81-120. DOI:

Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Sheldon, S., Simon, B. S., Salinas K. C., Jansorn, N. R., …Williams, K. J (2018). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Evans, M. P. (2013). Educating preservice teachers for family, school and community engagement. Teaching Education, 24(2), 123-133. DOI:

Every Student Succeeds Act. (2015, 10 December). Public Law (114-95) [Sec. 1010: Parent and Family Engagement]. Retrieved March 11, 2020 from

Fields-Smith, C. (2005). African American parents before and after Brown. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 20(2), 129-135.

Ford, B., Vakil, S., & Boit, R. (2016). Family engagement within inclusive settings. In Bakken, J. & Obiakor, F. (Eds.), General and special education inclusion in an age of change: Roles of professionals involved. (pp. 75-98) (Advances in Special Education, 32). West Yorkshire: Emerald Publishing.

Gilroy, P. (2018). Preparing pre-service teachers for family-school partnerships. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(3), 251-251. DOI:

Goals 2000: Educate America Act. (1994, 31 March). Public Law (103-227). [Sec. 102. National Education Goals]. Retrieved August 3, 2019 from

Graham-Clay, S. (2005). Communicating with parents: Strategies for teachers. School Community Journal, 15(1), 117-129.

Grant, K. B. & Ray, J.A. (2010). Home, school, and community collaboration: Culturally responsive family involvement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Harris, A., & Goodall, J. (2008). Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in learning. Educational Research, 50(3), 277-289. DOI:

Henderson, A., & Mapp, K. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Annual Synthesis. Texas: National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools (SEDL).

Hoover-Dempsey, K., Walker, J., Jones, K., & Reeds, R. (2002). Teachers Involving Parents (TIP): Results of an in-service teacher education program for enhancing parental involvement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(7), 843-867. DOI:

Kroeger, J., and M. Lasch. (2011). Asking, listening, and learning: Toward a more thorough method of inquiry in home school relations. Teaching and Teacher Education 27(2), 268-277. DOI:

Li, G., Lin, M., Liu, C., Johnson, A., Li, Y., & Loyalka, P. (2019). The prevalence of parent-teacher interaction in developing countries and its effect on student outcomes. Teaching and Teacher Education, 86, 102878. DOI:

Miller, G., Coleman, J., & Mitchell, J. (2018). Towards a model of interprofessional preparation to enhance partnering between educators and families. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(3) 353-365. DOI:

Mitsch, M., Branch, J., & Weglarz-Ward, J. (2020). Integrating family content in teacher preparation programs using intentional reflection and planning. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 41(2), 197-208. DOI:

Murray, E., McFarland-Piazza, L., & Harrison, L. J. (2014). Changing patterns of parent-teacher communication and parent involvement from preschool to school. Early Child Development and Care, 185(7), 1031-1052. DOI:

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2011). 2010 NAEYC Standards for initial and advanced early childhood professional preparation programs [PDF Document]. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from

No Child Left Behind Act. (2002, 8 January). Public Law (107-110). [Sec. 501: Innovative programs and parental choice provisions]. Retrieved March 11, 2020 from

Olsen, G., & Fuller, M. (2008). Home-School relations: Working successfully with parents and families. Boston: Pearson.

Patte, M. (2011). Examining preservice teacher knowledge and competencies in establishing family-school partnerships. The School Community Journal, 21(2), 143-159.

Pemberton, K., & Miller, S. (2015). Building home-school relationships to enhance reading achievement for students from families with limited financial resources. Education and Urban Society, 47(7), 743-765. DOI:

Rohr, J., & He, Y. (2010). Preservice teachers and parents: Using a reading course to change perceptions and practice. Educational Studies, 36(1), 35-45. DOI:

State Government Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2008). Families as partners in learning [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved December 12, 2019, from

Taylor, L., & Kim, K. (2020). Experiencing the real context between families, schools, and community relationships: transforming preservice teachers' perceptions. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 41(1), 18-28. DOI:

Tekin, A. K. (2011). Parent involvement revisited: Background, theories, and models. International Journal of Applied Educational Studies, 10(2), 1-13.

Willemse, T.M., Thompson, I., Vanderlinde, R., & Mutton, T. (2018). Family-school partnerships: a challenge for teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching, 44(3), 252-257. DOI:

How to Cite
Boit, R. (2020). Navigating the process of building parent-teacher partnerships: Experiences of early childhood pre-service teachers. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 1(2), 167-181.