Rethinking parent participation: a process evaluation of the parents and learning program in Napranum

Hanrahan, Christine (2004) Rethinking parent participation: a process evaluation of the parents and learning program in Napranum. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Wide recognition of the value of close links between home and school for children, their families and educators has, in recent times, led to the development of programs and policies supporting the concept of home-school partnerships and encouraging parent participation in education. However, the reality for many Indigenous families is that policies have not translated into practices that fit within the cultural context of family and community, and parents have few opportunities to gain knowledge of the education process and how it affects their children. The Parents and Learning program views parent participation in education in Indigenous communities as home-based. It is a two year program that actively engages parents in educational activities with their children outside the constraints of the school. Development of the program was in response to Napranum parents’ requests for help in preparing their children for the rigours of formal schooling. This thesis presents a process evaluation of the Parents and Learning program in Napranum. It examines how and why things happened, in addition to exploring the impact of the program in the community. Qualitative methodology was chosen as the most appropriate methodology for the context as it enabled me to capture both the essence of the program and the participants’ perspectives. In an effort to determine the effectiveness of the program I focussed on the perceptions of the Indigenous parent participants and personnel as the main stakeholders and key informants. The research shows that the PaL program was effective in translating concern into action. By providing practical, structured support and concrete, fun activities, the PaL program has begun to unlock some of the mysteries of schooling for parents and children in Napranum. Children and parents are actively engaging in Western literacy and numeracy experiences in their own environment, using their own frameworks of interaction with the support of people they know and trust. These processes are enabling bridges to be built for their children between the culture of home and the culture of school. The identification of the core elements of the PaL program also highlights some of the processes critical in supporting and strengthening families, particularly during the early childhood years.

Item ID: 70
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: Parents and Learning program, Home-school partnerships, Parent participation in education, Napranum, Indigenous parent participants,
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2006
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education @ 100%
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