|JOEL PONCE FELICIANO (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Graduate School, Trinity University of Asia|
|Family unit plays an important role in meeting the needs of children in school, specifically preschoolers. Children move between two influential environments that build attitudes and readiness for learning: the home and the school. Starting school is an important time for young children, their families, and educators. It has been described as one of the major challenges children has to face in their early childhood years (Victorian Department of School Education, 1992), a big step for all children and their families (New South Wales Department of School Education, 1997), and a key life cycle transition both in and outside school (Pianta & Cox, 1999).
Pianta and Kraft-Sayre (1999) suggested that the transition to school sets the tone and direction of a child's school career, while Christenses (1998) notes that transition to school has been described in the literature as a rite of passage associated with increased status and as a turning point in a child's life. In Kagan's (1999) words, starting school is a big deal. It is clearly a key experience not only for the children starting school but also for educators-both in schools and in prior-to-school settings-and for their families.
As in any relationship, family-school partnerships depend on the willingness and readiness of each partner to collaborate. Home-school collaboration is an attitude and not just a program or an activity. It occurs when parents and educators share common goals, are seen as equal, and both contribute to the process. It is sustained with a "want to" motivation rather than an "ought to" or "obliged to" orientation from all individuals. Therefore, it is not parents only in schools as volunteers, who are directed by the school's agenda; parents serving on advisory councils and educators not listening to their needs; parent-teacher conferences that are a one-way exchange of information; school to home contacts when a student is failing; the availability of programs sponsored by non-school organizations in the schools; and parent education programs determined by educators to be important for parents. Home-school collaboration occurs when parents are seen as key resources who work to improve their own children's education and the education of all children (www.cyfc.umn.edu/schoolage/resources/home).
For this reason, the researcher wants to initiate new programs and intensify existing programs which the school believes have an effect in the learning of preschoolers. The researcher believes that intensified learning of preschoolers can be best achieved if there will be collaborative efforts between parents and school, by working hand-in-hand, and by providing school and home based programs to realize school's goal of providing total quality preschool education.