Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of



John P. Rech

Date of this Version



Published in Child Care in Practice 2021



Copyright © 2021 The Child Care in Practice Group; published by Routledge/Taylor&Francis. Used by permission.


Family engagement in childcare is important to ensure the optimal growth, development, and safety of children. Previous research has explored family engagement practices, but limited research is available on the application of theory to explain the uptake of family engagement principles. The purpose of this study was to explore the use and perceptions of the National Association of the Education for Young Children’s six principles of effective family engagement among childcare providers from various childcare settings following the Innovation-Decision Process of the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. A semi-structured interview with a card-sorting task was used to explore providers’ knowledge, adoption, and perceived difficulty of implementation as well as their perceived outcomes, reasoning for use or non-use, and advice on use of the family engagement principles. Notable findings suggest variance in childcare providers’ knowledge, adoption, and perceived difficulty of all six family engagement principles. Childcare providers mentioned various perceived outcomes and reasoning for use of principles, such as improved relationship with parents and enhanced child learning. Lack of time and perceived disinterest of parents were commonly reported difficulties for the use of family engagement principles. Future studies should expand upon the exploration of family engagement practices and comparison between different childcare settings and philosophies. Further efforts are needed to investigate effective integration and use of technology for communication.