Early childhood professionals as a source of social support: The role of parent-professional communication
AuthorRolfe, SA; Armstrong, KJ
Source TitleAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsRolfe, S. A. & Armstrong, K. J. (2010). Early childhood professionals as a source of social support: The role of parent-professional communication. AUSTRALASIAN JOURNAL OF EARLY CHILDHOOD, 35 (3), pp.60-67. https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911003500308.
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FORTY MOTHERS PARTICIPATED IN this Australian study of maternal perceptions of early childhood professionals (ECPs) as a source of social support in formal, centre-based infant/toddler care settings. Social support was defined as both emotional support (for example, providing understanding, encouragement, acceptance) and instrumental support (for example, providing practical information). Of particular interest was how the nature of communication between mothers and ECPs influences maternal feelings of support. ECPs in the study were defined as all early childhood staff—unqualified and qualified—identified by the mothers as working with their child in the centre. Quantitative data obtained by surveys and questionnaires was augmented by case studies of selected mothers based on interviews. It was found that most mothers perceived ECPs to be a source of social support, and that the content and frequency of mother–ECP communication determined how much support mothers considered they received. The case studies provided evocative insights into what it is like for mothers to ‘be’ in supportive and unsupportive childcare spaces. Among other things, the outcomes of this study encourage policymakers and ECPs to consider the extent to which childcare services provide social support for mothers, and how they might identify those who have the greatest need for it.
KeywordsSpecialist Studies in Education
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