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Learning Family-Centered Practices Through a Parent–Child Playgroup Practicum

Appl, Dolores J. PhD; Farrar, Katelyn Longstreet BS; Smith, Karen G. BSN, MEd

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e31825900b0
Original Study

The mentor of a parent–child playgroup, an experienced student playgroup facilitator, and a faculty member teaching a family–professional collaboration course describe opportunities for preservice student facilitators to learn about and implement family-centered practices. The experiences of one student facilitator are used to explain the information gathering, reflection, action, and evaluation process of the playgroup practicum. We focus on how she used this process to explore parents' perspectives about family-centered practices within a playgroup that they attended and how her inquiry impacted future student facilitators. The inclusive playgroup for families with infants and toddlers is a university field site for early childhood special education majors and follows an interdisciplinary model, called Parents Interacting with Infants. The authors also describe skills and dispositions related to family-centered practices that the student facilitator developed across the semester in which she was enrolled in the playgroup practicum and the parent–professional collaboration course. These skills and dispositions reflect desired outcomes for all students serving as playgroup facilitators.

Early Childhood Special Education Program (Dr Appl and Ms Farrar) and Special Education Program (Ms Smith), Division of Rehabilitation Services and Special Education, University of Maine at Farmington.

Correspondence: Dolores J. Appl, PhD, Early Childhood Special Education Program, Division of Rehabilitation Services and Special Education, University of Maine at Farmington, Farmington, ME 04938 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

©2012Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.