Communication patterns and communication attitudes between parents and caregivers

Linda Wertheim, Pace University


The number of children who spend most of their day in child care centers is higher than ever before. These children are participants in at least two major social systems: the family and the child care center. Bronfenbrenner (1979) has suggested that when a developing child is actively participating in more than one setting that the interconnections between settings affect the child's development. Direct personal communication between settings plays a significant role in building positive, supportive connections. Theoretically, parent-staff communication has been viewed as important because it can alleviate discontinuities between parents and staff. Although the relationship of parents to day care programs is a critical issue in the development of day care policies and practices, there has been a dearth of research examining the interaction between parents and day care workers. The present study investigated the communication patterns and attitudes that may affect communication between parents and caregivers in day care centers. Eighty-eight parents and 34 caregivers from four day care centers in the Rockland County, New York area participated in this study. Aspects of communication explored included frequency and content of communication, satisfaction with current level of communication, and attitudes toward parent-caregiver discussion of various topics. Parents and caregivers were each requested to complete two questionnaires and to provide demographic information. Directors were interviewed to collect information about center characteristics, staffing arrangements and opportunities for parental involvement in day care center policies and decisions. The data revealed significant differences between parents and staff in several areas that affect communication and therefore, the nature of the day care-parent relationship. Results are examined in terms of barriers to effective communication that are believed to be embedded within these two systems. Implications for day care policies, research and training for early childhood personnel are discussed.

Subject Area

Preschool education|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Wertheim, Linda, "Communication patterns and communication attitudes between parents and caregivers" (1994). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9413941.



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