This approach focuses professional interactions with families on understanding and honoring each family’s Funds of Knowledge (Gonzales, Moll, & Amanti, 2009). The following describes how each of the three tenets of the Funds of Knowledge framework are used in this approach:

Families are Competent: We recognize that families are already helping their child learn. To understand this, we observe.

Families have Knowledge:  We recognize that families understand child development, their goals, and how effective they think the strategies are, all through the lens of their individual culture. To understand this, we have conversations.

Families Life Experiences have given them that knowledge: We recognize families’ competencies and knowledge are a reflection of their thought processes, problem-solving approaches, and outside resources. To understand this, we wonder and apply what we learned in the observations and conversations to planning and intervention.

This approach recognizes that what families AND professionals DO is only one aspect of how they engage. Their mindset, what they THINK and FEEL, are critical to truly engaging in ways that honor family strengths in helping their child develop. Mindset principles are the lens from which families and professionals think about families and professionals.

Mindset Principles About Families


– Have many ways and cultural styles of parenting. Each and every way and style are honored.

– Are already successfully meeting their family and child priorities.

– Are actively thinking about and promoting their child’s development, even if it’s difficult for them to describe it.

– Have knowledge and skills (i.e., developmental strategies) outside of those learned in EI.

– Promote their child’s development because it is a parental role.

Mindset Principles About Professionals


– Try new things and take risks. If something doesn’t work, it’s a reflection of the strategy, not the professional’s competence.

– Are open to new understandings that are perhaps different from what they previously thought.

– Prioritize the need to learn from the family over the need to create a plan or implement a strategy. This is really about curiosity.

– Work to master new skills even if the work is hard.

– Are a resource to families being a parent because that is the professional’s role.