Child and Family-Centered Practices in Early Childhood Education and Care Services: An Empirical Study with Families and Practitioners in Portugal
Early childhood intervention in Portugal evolved continuously in the past two decades. However, information regarding families’ and practitioners’ perceptions of the intervention practices is scarce. This work aims to explore families’ and practitioners’ perspectives about child/family centered practices and related variables. A sociodemographic questionnaire and the Portuguese adaptation of the Family Focused Intervention Scale was administered to 60 early childhood intervention practitioners and 78 caregivers. Data gathered from practitioners indicated that the most frequent practices were centered on providing information and providing instructional activities to the family. Overall, the practices were more centered on the children than centered on families, although some differences were observed as a function of the practitioners’ training or professional experience. Data gathered from families reinforced that children’s centered practices were the most prevalent, given that families indicated that intervention consisted mainly on providing information about children’s predicable development, as well as about the functioning of the services. Resource assistance seems to differ according to the severity of the handicap. These findings allow us to discuss how global early childhood intervention policies are being translated into local services and practices in the Portuguese context.
KeywordsEarly childhood intervention Families Practitioners Practices Perspectives
This work was supported by National Funds, provided through FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) to the strategic projects PEst-OE/FIL/UI0683/2014 and POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007562.
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