“Preschool teachers’ views on competence in the context of home and preschool collaboration”.

Vuorinen, T.
Sandberg, A.
Sheridan, S.
Williams, P.
Early Child Development and Care, 184(1), 149-159.


The purpose of this study is to contribute to better understanding of the requirements for cooperation between the preschool and the home. This is done by investigating how preschool teachers view pedagogical competences in connection with cooperation with parents. The study focuses specifically on identifying the situations in which the preschool teachers themselves consider their pedagogical competences are prominent and visible for the parents.


Overall, the study shows that the competences highlighted by the preschool teachers themselves as particularly important in connection with cooperation with parents, and the competences they experience parents demand, do not always coincide. The preschool teachers try to clarify and make visible their pedagogical competences in their work with the children’s learning, and they explain the learning goals of the preschool for the parents. On the other hand, the teachers experience that the parents tend to place greater importance on personal qualities such as teachers’ ability to create a pleasant and social environment for the child.

The study shows that the preschool teachers primarily highlight competences of a social nature in connection with cooperation with parents.

The preschool teachers point in particular to the ability to establish and maintain contact, the ability to see and meet parents as individuals, and the ability to communicate. These competences are considered by the preschool teachers as decisive for developing a confidence-building and trusting relationship with parents, that is characterised by transparency, dialogue and mutual respect. The preschool teachers also point to the ability to establish and maintain good relations with parents through using rhetorical tools, for example by communicating difficult or complex messages clearly and tactfully in order to maintain the good relationship. Both social and communication skills are perceived by the preschool teachers as something that is developed over time through practical experience.

The study also shows that preschool teachers consciously try to direct parents’ attention towards profession-specific competences, for example by highlighting activities at the preschool and children’s learning when meeting the parents, and by highlighting what individual children have done at the preschool during the day.

These competences can be described as being related to the ability to make visible the tasks of the preschool teachers and how preschool activities contribute to children’s learning. The preschool teachers also consider this important, as they believe that it strengthens parents’ confidence that their children have had a good day and that preschool teachers are caring properly for their children.


The empirical data basis for the study is composed of semi-structured interviews with 30 Swedish preschool teachers (all women) from different preschools in different areas in Sweden. The preschool teachers were selected by the managers of the preschools on the basis of instructions from the researchers to select employees they considered as very competent. The participating preschool teachers had between five and 30 years’ work experience. The interviews were completed at the workplace of the individual preschool teachers, and lasted for 1-2 hours. All the interviews were saved as audio files and then transcribed. Data was analysed on the basis of grounded theory, meaning that the analysis categories were not based on a specific theory, but they were developed from themes and characteristics arising from the empirical data.


Vuorinen, T., Sandberg, A., Sheridan, S. & Williams, P. (2014). “Preschool teachers’ views on competence in the context of home and preschool collaboration”. Early Child Development and Care, 184(1), 149-159.

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