Supporting early childhood preservice teachers in their work with children and families with complex needs: A strengths approach

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Abstract

This article explores the potential of tailoring the inherent principles of the Strengths Approach (McCashen, 2005) for preparing early childhood educators to work with children and families with complex needs. The term Strengths Approach (capitalized) is presented in the article as the name of a specific approach developed by St. Lukes (McCashen, 2005) while the term strengths approaches (lower case) is included for broader references to strengths-based organizational practices. The Strengths Approach is a solutions-focused way of openly addressing issues that occur in human services by identifying and using the strengths and resources of all stakeholders. Although commonly used in social service organizations, the Strengths Approach has not been widely adopted in early childhood education and care contexts or in teacher education courses. Drawing on our previous Australian and American interdisciplinary research in psychology, child development, and early childhood preservice teacher training for child protection, we examine the possibility of teacher educators also introducing the Strengths Approach in preservice teacher training as a framework to enhance future parent-educator communication across a range of children's early development, protection, attachment, and learning needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-38
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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