Home learning environments

Chapter 8: Professional Development to Support Family Learning

Chapter Overview

This chapter focuses on how practitioners with skills in working with young children can adapt and enhance their knowledge and aptitudes to working directly with parents. We consider the attitudes, knowledge, skills and understanding which early years professionals need to enhance family learning in ways which support parents to develop their children’s learning. Case studies show how professional development must be properly resourced and tailored for different groups of adult learners. The chapter distinguishes between the terms ‘professional development’ and ‘training’, and argues for participative, research-based approaches to creating and developing professional development for family learning.

Chapter Objectives:

  • To define the terms ‘professional development’ and ‘training’.

  • To consider how a research-based approach to professional development can build enhanced learning opportunities for early years educators.

  • To provide examples of continuing professional development (CPD) underpinning family learning initiatives and practices in different contexts.

Further Reading

National Literacy Trust, National Children’s Bureau (NCB), Peeple and the Foundation Years Trust (2018) Home matters: making the most of the home learning environment. Guidance for schools, nurseries, local authorities and public health partners.
https://cdn.literacytrust.org.uk/media/documents/Home_matters_-_making_the_most_of_the_home_learning_environment.pdf Accessed April 2021
A report on family learning work in areas of disadvantage in England, featuring accounts from contributing charities on their research-based work where parents, teachers and practitioners are ‘mutually supportive partners in children’s learning and development’.

Lightfoot, S. and Frost, D. (2015) The professional identity of early years educators in England: implications for a transformative approach to continuing professional development, Professional Development in Education, 41:2, 401-418,DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2014.989256
This paper focuses on the voices of nine early years practitioners and their need for continuing professional development which values their needs, makes connections and brings change in their work contexts.

Trodd, L. and Dickerson, C. (2019) ‘I enjoy learning’: developing early years practitioners’ identities as professionals and as professional learners, Professional Development in Education, 45:3, 356-371, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2018.1459788
This paper focuses on early years practitioners’ developing identities as reflective professionals and learners to bring change to their settings.