Parent Agency in Promoting Child Learning: Family Perceptions of Focusing on Family Strengths During Early Childhood Assessment and Planning Practices

Document Type


Publication Date



Identifying family strengths is central to early childhood practices. Moving beyond identification to exploring and explicitly applying those strengths can evolve strengths-based and family capacity-building practices. Assessment and planning processes that focus on the strategies families use to help their child learn can give agency to families in this parenting role. This exploratory study examined the perspectives of seven families who participated in an early intervention assessment-to-planning approach that sought to uncover, understand, and utilize the strategies families used to help their child learn and their appraisals of those strategies. Family responses during qualitative interviews were analyzed into three themes: (1) naturalistic observations yield naturalistic understandings, (2) practices that honor family strengths and family fit, and (3) self-discovery and self-affirmation. Implications for evolving family capacity-building approaches are discussed.