This blog post is written by Dr. Maria Danos (Lecturer in Early Childhood Care and Education at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education).


This 4Ps project (Practitioners & Parents Play Partnership) involved the development of practitioner-parent partnership model underpinned by Froebelian principles. This model involved gaining the perspectives of parents and early years practitioners on how they work together in the interests of children, and how they view play as a starting point for their partnership. Following an initial assessment of potential participants’ perspectives, two interventions including two sessions each were designed to bring parents and professionals together to learn about play and partnership grounded in Froebel’s principles.



The sessions were organised to encourage the exchange of ideas, using a range of strategies to ensure that participants felt welcome and psychologically safe, in an inclusive environment that promoted respect and meaningful communication. Froebelian principles informed the development of these sessions, including the recognition of the uniqueness of each child’s capacity and potential, a holistic view of each child’s development, a recognition of the integrity of childhood in its own right and a recognition of the child as part of the community.

The study has now been completed and it has highlighted some key policy implications including the fact that parents and practitioners need opportunities to feel comfortable and confident in working in partnership. Our research showed that there can sometime be tensions between parents and practitioners, and these can be eased through participating at common activities that will give opportunities to these two groups to come together and develop relationships of trust. Government support, as well as support from local authorities and other professional bodies, for Continuous Professional Development (CPD), such as the sessions we provided as part of our research, can offer such opportunities for these relationships to develop as they offer the space and time for parents and practitioners to come together. Currently, we are offering such CPD sessions and supporting early years settings and nurseries with developing parent-practitioners partnerships.

The 4Ps Project was funded by The Froebel Trust between 2016 and 2018. The research team was led by Dr. Maria Kambouri-Danos and included Dr. Myria Pieridou (The Open University), Suzanne Quinn (University of Roehampton) and Teresa Wilson (University of Reading). The research support team included Jo Elsey, Geoff Taggart, Dr. Anna Tsakalaki and Dr. Jie Liu (University of Reading).

You can learn more about our project by clicking here.