Positive Partnerships: The Role of Child Health Nurses in an Early Childhood Family Literacy Program

By Caroline Barratt-Pugh and Karen Anderson.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Better Beginnings is an early literacy program, involving a partnership between child health nurses and public libraries. The aim of the program is to work with families to support children’s early literacy learning. This paper investigates the child health nurses’ perceptions of the implementation and outcomes of the program. Child health nurses, librarians and parents from four diverse communities were interviewed or surveyed each year, over four years. The results suggest that the partnership between the child health nurses and the librarians was crucial to the success of the program. Collaboration developed over time and helped to ensure effective outcomes for parents as well as benefits to the professionals involved. Commitment to Better Beginnings also helped to sustain and develop the program through ongoing interagency feedback. However, issues were raised about ways of enhancing communication between the professionals to extend the program to traditionally hard to reach families.

Keywords: Child Health Nurse, Librarian, Early Literacy, Professional Partnerships, Inter-agency Collaboration, Family Literacy Program, Program Evaluation

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.75-85. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 162.755KB).

Prof Caroline Barratt-Pugh

Director of Centre for Research in Early Childhood, School of Education, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Caroline Barratt-Pugh is a Professor and the Director of the Centre for Research in Early Childhood at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. Caroline’s research interests include early language and literacy in community and educational contexts. During the past decade, she has worked on nationally funded research projects that investigated home and school literacy practices and effective teacher literacy practices. She is an assessor for the Australian Research Council, serves on the board of two literacy journals, has authored three books on early literacy and published several articles. Currently, she is directing the evaluation of the National Year of Reading in Australia and is the continuing director of the longitudinal evaluation of the Better Beginnings program in Western Australia that commenced in 2004.

Dr. Karen Anderson

Senior Research Officer, School of Education, Faculty of Education and Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Dr. Anderson is a senior research officer in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.