An Exploration of How the Foundations Intervention Influences Family-Professional Partnerships in Head Start: A Case Study

Vera L. Stroup-Rentier, Jean A. Summers, Susan Palmer, Ann P. Turnbull



This study explores family-professional partnerships in a Head Start and considers how an intervention designed to address needs of young children through joint efforts by families and Head Start teachers may influence those partnerships. The site in this study exemplifies Head Start’s commitment to family partnership, making it a suitable setting for a case study. The researcher observed and interviewed three teachers, four family members, and one Head Start administrator. The first research question explored pre-existing attitudes and structures related to partnerships at this Head Start. Three themes emerged: (a) program understanding of family partnership; (b) national performance standards and program administrative structures emphasizing family support and participation; and, (c) local Head Start leadership. The second research question explored the intervention’s influence on this setting’s partnerships and identified four themes: (a) developing shared goals between family members and teachers; (b) sharing knowledge of home and school environments; (c) collaborating to achieve the child’s goals; and (d) interactions with enhanced communication, high expectations, and commitment. These seven themes showed how the process, which relied on existing beliefs and administrative structures, had positive impact on family partnership when using the Foundations intervention.


Keywords: partnership, Head Start, self-determination, early childhood, disabilities



partnership, Head Start, self-determination, early childhood, disabilities

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This journal is a publication of the NHSA and the CEME at UNC Charlotte.