Dialogiske forældresamtaler - alle vil jo gerne inddrages?

Bloch-Poulsen, J.
Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag.


The purpose of this study is to describe and discuss a model for dialogical parent-teacher conferences developed in connection with a 1-year action research project in collaboration between researchers and pedagogical staff in a play room for children with special needs at a Danish integrated daycare centre (day nursery + kindergarten).


The study describes in detail the dialogical action research process which resulted in the development of the dialogical parent-involvement model. Moreover, it discusses the conditions and preconditions for ensuring that cooperation between practitioners and researchers in an action research project is characterised by dialogue and involvement.

The study shows how cooperation between action researchers and early childhood educators results in the development of new routines in the form of a dialogical conversation model, in which the parents of the child and the early childhood educators together set goals for the child in the action plan. The model was developed, tested and adjusted through discussions at the meetings between early childhood educators and action researchers and through pilot testing among some of the parents. Finally the model was put into use permanently. The study points out that the model is not a static tool, but will be changed and adjusted regularly following pedagogical considerations. In the dialogical conversation model, the early childhood educators do not present pre-set goals for the child from the action plan meeting. Instead the parents are asked to set goals for their child which they themselves consider important. The parents write one goal at a time on a post-it note, and together with the early childhood educators they find out to which of the six overall (and defined by the early childhood educators) categories the individual goal belongs. The six categories are: self-reliance (e.g. with regard to daily routines and tasks), social skills (e.g. play, body awareness and emotional development), communication (e.g. communication skills and pronunciation), motor coordination (e.g. senses, fine and gross motor skills), cognitive skills (e.g. knowledge and understanding of the surrounding world) and behaviour (e.g. stereotyping and inappropriate behaviour). Parents and early childhood educators then prioritise together the goals and define each goal as either long-term or short-term. Moreover, early childhood educators and parents clarify the allocation of responsibilities in connection with the individual goals, including whether the parents have persons in their network who could be involved (e.g. grandparents).

The model created a greater understanding and improved cooperation between parents and early childhood educators. However, the author also reflects on the paradox that the early childhood educators' wish for the parents to be involved can potentially burden parents in situations where they do not want to, or are not able to be involved. This is a paradox which also applies in the relationship between the action researcher and the early childhood educators. The study concludes that being taken seriously is crucial for action research projects to succeed.


This study is an action research project, in which the author collaborated with a team of early childhood educators for children with special needs who work in a play room for children with special needs at an integrated daycare centre. The project ran from March 2011 to March 2012 and consisted of an introductory meeting with the manager of the institution, an introductory meeting with the staff group, and subsequently seven three-hour development meetings held at 1½-month intervals with the team of specialists. At the meetings, the participants discussed how to optimise the early childhood educators' routines at action-plan meetings, and how to reach common understandings and decisions which made sense to all of them. All seven meetings were recorded on tape, and after each meeting, one of the researchers prepared a summary of the decisions taken. Between the meetings, the early childhood educators tested the suggestions for change in practice through role playing and pilot conferences with the parents. After preparing the final model for involving the parents, all the early childhood educators involved and the management of the institution were interviewed about their experience of the process. Moreover, four parents were interviewed about their experience regarding the new parent-involvement model.


Bloch-Poulsen, J. (2013). Dialogiske forældresamtaler - alle vil jo gerne inddrages? Aalborg: Aalborg Universitetsforlag.

Financed by

Region Midt (Denmark)