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A cocaring framework for infants and toddlers: Applying a model of coparenting to parent-teacher relationships

Connections between home and childcare are vital for coordinating high quality care and education, especially for very young children. However, we know little about the key dimensions of parent-teacher, or cocaring relationships, in early childhood education, especially in subsidized care settings. Through individual, semi-structured qualitative interviews, this study examined 10 parent-teacher relationships where parents were receiving subsidized, center-based childcare for their infant or toddler. Using iterative, inductive analysis and deductive analysis based on Feinberg's (2003) definitions of key coparenting dimensions--a critical guiding theoretical framework for also understanding parent-teacher coordination and interaction--three main themes emerged: the importance of good, open communication between parents and educators, challenges when undermining versus support was used in their interactions, and tensions when parents and educators disagreed versus agreed on practices such as feeding or toilet training. This study found evidence for positive cocaring interactions, especially positive communication that related with effective care coordination. The cocaring conceptualization offers a practical framework to support strong parent-teacher relationships and a theoretical tool to facilitate future research on parent-teacher relationships in early childhood education. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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