Building communities by connecting families: the importance of a supportive environment for parents and children through the transition to formal schooling

Year: 2015

Author: Girdwood, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Transition to school can be a challenging time for families whose culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD) may differ from that of the wider society. Research shows that when parents and families are offered an opportunity to build relationships within the school community, the whole of that community reaps the benefits. When schools develop pre-prep programs that familiarise children and parents with the various expectations of beginning school, children adjust more easily and parents are able to operate more confidently as community members.

This paper explores how CALD parents and schools gauge the role of the programs in easing the transition to formal schooling. The views of a range of stakeholders were gained through discussions and interviews about issues arising through this period at two schools in a low socio-economic (SES) area of south-east Queensland.

Areas covered include parent perception of what can be gained through participation in a program, both for themselves and their pre-prep children. It considers particularly how important parents perceived the opportunity of building relationships within the school community through participation in such programs. Finally, it examines ideas about the benefits to all stake holders about the place of community within the school setting.