Emerging Minds

An introduction to family partnerships for educators

About the course

Partnering and collaborating with families to understand their unique needs and challenges helps to create a holistic approach to supporting children's mental health and development. This is one of the most important roles an educator can play in promoting and supporting children and young people’s wellbeing.

This course introduces the concept of family partnerships as a practice for supporting children’s mental health, development and overall wellbeing. You’ll learn about what family partnerships are; how they can be used to support children’s wellbeing; and what authentic family partnerships look like in practice.

The course also introduces four new practice shifts for you to consider when implementing family partnerships:

  • Cultivating collaboration
  • Embracing relationships
  • Holistic understandings; and
  • Contextual awareness.

These practice shifts can further strengthen your everyday practice as an educator, as you develop and maintain authentic partnerships with families.

Who is this course for?

This course is for educators who want to learn more about family partnerships and how they can be used to support child and youth development, mental health and wellbeing. The course material is relevant for educators across all sectors and career stages, including early childhood educators, primary and secondary school teachers, pre-service teachers and out of school hours care educators.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes for this course are to:

  • enhance your understanding of your role in supporting children and young people’s development, mental health and overall wellbeing
  • expand your knowledge of what family partnerships are and how they support children and young people’s wellbeing
  • provide you with a new perspective on establishing and nurturing relationships with families to support children and young people’s mental health, development and social and emotional wellbeing
  • strengthen your confidence in leading partnerships with families
  • build an awareness of the four practice shifts for implementing authentic partnerships with families; and
  • build awareness of how the practice of family partnerships aligns with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the National Quality Standard for early childhood educators.


It is estimated that this course will take you approximately two hours to complete, including reading the material and watching the videos.

You can undertake the course across multiple sessions at your own pace. The last screen you visit before logging off will be bookmarked and you will have the option of returning to that screen when you next log in.


As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later.
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.


For the purposes of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child, as well as individuals who have chosen to take up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child.

This course refers to different ages and stages of development across the whole lifespan, from early years through to adolescence and young adulthood. The terms child and young person are used throughout as a way of capturing the different ages and stages across the different education settings. As a general guide, the term ‘child’ is used to refer to children in early years and primary school settings, and ‘young person’ is used to describe individuals in secondary school settings.

Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. It incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths and is a facet of child development.1

In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and Community. It also recognises the importance of connection to Land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.2

‘Social and emotional wellbeing’ is also used by some people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, who may have differing concepts of mental health and mental illness.3

Social and emotional development involves the development of skills required to:

  • identify and understand one’s feelings
  • read and understand the emotional states of other people
  • manage strong emotions and how they are expressed
  • regulate behaviour
  • develop empathy; and
  • establish and maintain relationships.4

Educator is a collective term used to represent education professionals working across the entire education sector. This includes early childhood education and care, primary schools, secondary schools, out of school hours care (OSHC) and pre-service training.

Family partnerships are the relationships between families (parents, carers, grandparents, foster carers and/or kinship carers) and educators that are centred on supporting the mental health, development and overall wellbeing of a child.


NESA accreditation

Completing An introduction to family partnerships for educators will contribute 2 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Accredited PD in the priority area of Student/child mental health addressing Standard Descriptor 7.3.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher in NSW.

To mark your course completion with NESA, please send your full name, NESA account number and the title of this course to [email protected].

TQI 2024

TQI accreditation

This course is fully accredited with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI). Successful completion gives TQI members two hours of accredited Professional Learning.

ACT participant completions are recorded with the TQI at the beginning of each week. To mark your course completion with TQI, please send your full name, TQI number and the title of this course to [email protected].

Alignment with Australian professional practice standards

The knowledge and skills developed through this course align with Australian professional standards for both early childhood education and care professionals and school teachers and leaders, as outlined below.

The course material aims to support your professional practice in these areas, and has been developed to support these standards.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

For primary and secondary school teachers, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers refer to both wellbeing and family partnerships as a core part of professional knowledge, practice and engagement.

This course is linked to the following standards:

Professional Practice – 3.7 Engage parents/carers in the educative process

  • Graduate: Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.
  • Proficient: Plan for appropriate and contextually relevant opportunities for parents/carers to be involved in their children’s learning.
  • Highly Accomplished: Work with colleagues to provide appropriate and contextually relevant opportunities for parents/carers to be involved in their children’s learning.
  • Lead: Initiate contextually relevant processes to establish programs that involve parents/carers in the education of their children and broader school priorities and activities.

Professional Practice – 4.4 Maintain student safety

  • Graduate: Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system curriculum and legislative requirements.
  • Proficient: Ensure students’ wellbeing and safety within school by implementing school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.
  • Highly Accomplished: Initiate and take responsibility for implementing current school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements to ensure student wellbeing and safety.
  • Lead: Evaluate the effectiveness of student wellbeing policies and safe working practices using current school and/or system curriculum and legislative requirements, and assist colleagues to update their practices.

Professional Engagement – 7.3 Engage with the parents/carers

  • Graduate: Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.
  • Proficient: Establish and maintain respectful collaborative relationships with parents/carers regarding their children’s learning and wellbeing.
  • Highly Accomplished: Demonstrate responsiveness in all communications with parents/carers about their children’s learning and wellbeing.
  • Lead: Identify, initiate and build on opportunities that engage parents/carers in both the progress of their children’s learning and in the educational priorities of the school.

The National Quality Standard

For early childhood educators, the National Quality Standard refers to both wellbeing and family partnerships as a core part of your educational program and practice.

By completing this course and embedding your learnings into your daily practice, you can help your early learning service to meet the following quality areas:

Quality Area 2 – Children’s health and safety: Children have the right to experience quality education and care in an environment that safeguards and promotes their health, safety and wellbeing.

  • Standard 2.1 Health: Each child’s health and physical activity is supported and promoted.
  • Element 2.1.1 Wellbeing and comfort: Each child’s wellbeing and comfort is provided for, including appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s need for sleep, rest and relaxation.

Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities: Collaborative relationships with families are fundamental to achieving quality outcomes for children, and community partnerships based on active communication, consultation and collaboration are essential.

  • Standard 6.1 Supportive relationships with families: Respectful relationships with families are developed and maintained and families are supported in their parenting role.
  • Element 6.1.2 Parent views are respected: The expertise, culture, values and beliefs of families are respected and families share in decision-making about their child’s learning and wellbeing.


This course draws on the latest research, clinical insights, and the lived experience of our child and family partners. We’d like to thank the professionals and families who played an integral role in shaping this course, generously offering their time, wisdom and unique perspectives.

A quick guide to Emerging Minds Learning

Watch the following video for a quick guide on how to navigate Emerging Minds Learning courses.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Social and emotional wellbeing: Development of a Children’s Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 158. Canberra, ACT: AIHW.
  2. Commonwealth of Australia. (2017). National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework 2016-2023. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, p.6.
  3. Everymind. (2020). Understanding mental health, mental ill-health and suicide. Newcastle, NSW: Everymind.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2009). A picture of Australia’s children 2009. Cat. no. PHE 112. Canberra, ACT: AIHW.

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