• Julie Paul University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), School of Education,
  • Kelly Hill University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), School of Education
  • Mariah Weber University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), School of Education


With pressing emphasis on the quality of early childhood preschool programs for children birth to age five, one
quality assurance is for educators and family members to work together to foster the young child’s rapid
development. Through reciprocal partnerships between educators and families, family members are empowered
to continue with their contributions to their child’s education after they enter school. Through a U.S. Department
of Education grant, pre-kindergarten and pre-service teachers took part in a Summer Institute Program focused on
providing professional development on working effectively with multilingual children and their families. This
study explored pre-kindergarten and pre-service teachers’ perceptions and experiences of implementing family
engagement activities during the Summer Institute Program. The qualitative findings reported in this multiple case
study were extracted from a larger mixed methods study of effectiveness of the overall professional development
provided during the Summer Institute Program. During the program, family engagement opportunities included,
though were not limited to, Parent and Child Together Time, family visits, and family engagement workshops.
Findings for this study suggested that before the Summer Institute Program, teacher participants did not feel
adequately prepared to work with families of multilingual students. Though several participants had previously
implemented isolated parent involvement activities, few had authentically collaborated to form reciprocal
partnerships with families, particularly those of multilingual students. Participants overcame initial and perceived
challenges to partner with multilingual families through family engagement opportunities such as Parent and Child
Together Time, which is the focus of this study. Furthermore, participants felt more comfortable in working with
families of multilingual students after having participated in professional development on effective family