A new research paper by Dr. Maria Kambouri (Associate Professor of Early Childhood Care and Education, University of Reading) and Teresa Wilson (Lecturer in Education, University of Reading), titled ‘Making partnerships work: Proposing a model to support parent-practitioner partnerships in the early years’ has recently been published in Early Childhood Education Journal.

The study employed a mixed-methods approach whereby the parents and practitioners from seven local nurseries in Reading, England were encouraged to work together by participating in two sessions with families and children. The sessions provided parents and practitioners with space and time to explore the issue of working in ‘partnership’. Data were collected using pre- and post-session questionnaires with 190 participants from across the nurseries, 25 parents and practitioners who attended the two sessions and face-to-face interviews with nine parents, three practitioners, and two nursery managers.

The study found that both parties need to invest time and recognise that ‘effective partnership’ is a two way process which requires engagement and dialogue to be able to develop meaningful relationships of trust. The findings were used to develop the ‘CAFE’ [Collaborative/Communicative, Active and Friendly Environment] partnership model which incorporates those elements considered important to facilitate the development of partnerships between practitioners and parents. The CAFE model addresses the gap in the literature in terms of unpicking the key features of a partnership approach, as captured through the lived experience of both parents and practitioners. It also contributes to deepening the understanding of the applications of Froebelian principles in contemporary contexts and the ways in which they can encourage high quality early childhood development and education. Future research should explore how this model could be used to evaluate existing practice and guide the development of current partnership policies and approaches.

The paper is co-authored with Myria Pieridou (The Open University), Suzanne Flannery Quinn (KOMPAN Play Institute) and Jie Liu (The UCL, Institute of Education).


To learn more about Dr. Kambouri’s research, visit her profile page here. She tweets at @maria_eva_37.

To learn more about Teresa Wilson’s research, visit her profile page here.



Kambouri, M. Wilson, T., Pieridou, M. Quinn, S. F., & Liu, J. (2021). Making partnerships work: Proposing a model to support parent-practitioner partnerships in the early years. Early Childhood Education Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01181-6