Working in partnership and emergent literacy

17 Feb 2015

As a child and family health nurse, ‘working in partnership’, ‘strengths-based working’ and ‘family-centred’ approaches are likely to be familiar in your practice. These approaches have been both popular and accepted in healthcare for many years, and have well-recognised benefits for health and children’s developmental outcomes.

Child and family health nursing comes with multiple competing challenges, which can make working in partnership difficult to incorporate into usual practice (Keatinge et al, 2007). Training and a supportive work environment can help you to develop your partnership skills to an advanced level, and move more fully towards the more consultative and power-sharing method that working in partnership promotes. 


The years before school – from birth to five years of age – are a critical time for the brain development that will enable children to develop their literacy skills.

It can be challenging to promote the message that daily reading with babies and children from birth is fundamental to the skills those children will need for life. Some parents might not see the value in making reading with babies and young children part of their daily routine. Some parents might feel that they don’t have the resources for regular reading, or might feel uncomfortable or lack confidence with literacy. Each family will respond differently to the idea that they might read regularly with their baby.

Child and family health nurses have been identified as ‘influential others’ who can help to inspire parents and carers to bond with their baby and share the joy of reading every day from birth (Colmar Brunton, 2012). Working in partnership with the families that you see can help you to determine the best way to introduce them to the topic.

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