Parent involvement and children's early learning competence in literacy and mathematical understanding and approaches to learning

Berthelsen, Donna C. & Walker, Sue (2007) Parent involvement and children's early learning competence in literacy and mathematical understanding and approaches to learning. In Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Research Conference, 3rd - 4th December 2007, Melbourne. (Unpublished)



Strengthening cooperation between schools and parents appears critical to improving outcomes for children who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Previous research on parental involvement has shown considerable variation in the level of parental engagement in children's learning at home and at school. This variation is largely dependent on the socio-economic position and ethnic and cultural background of parents. However, the forms of parental involvement that are likely to enhance child outcomes remain unclear. Parental involvement includes practices that guide and support children’s learning at home; the level and nature of communication between home and the school; and participation by parents in school activities. Analyses in this paper address three questions: (1) What relations exist between parental involvement and the characteristics of the families? (2) What relations exist between parental involvement and the characteristics of schools and classrooms? (3) What relations exist between parental involvement and child outcomes after differences between families and schools are taken into account? The analyses will use LSAC Wave 2 (2006) for 4464 children in the Kindergarten Cohort. At Wave 2, the mean age of the children was 6.8 years (SD= 0.24). Sixty-nine percent were in Year 1 at school; 25 % were in Year 2; and 4% were in a pre-Year 1 program. The nature of parent involvement will be described (e.g., frequency of conversation with the child’s teacher; number of times parents have been involved in class activities; engagement in learning activities at home), as well as responsiveness of teacher and school to family needs and support for parental engagement). Relations between parental involvement and family characteristics (e.g., maternal education, family structure, ATSI status, language spoken in the home, and household income) will be presented. Teacher report of classroom practices that involve parents will be described as well as school characteristics (e.g., degree of urbanisation; school size; and student population by culture/ethnic composition). Three regression models are developed to test hypothesised linkages of parental involvement, classroom practices, and school characteristics to child outcomes. Child outcomes used in the analyses are teacher ratings of children's language and literacy competence and mathematical understanding using scale scores from the Academic Rating Scales (ARS); and children’s Approaches to Learning measured by six items rating classroom behaviours such as attentiveness and task persistence. Child characteristics, sex and age of child, are taken into account. Discussion of the findings focuses on how schools can take account of the different desires and interests of parents to be involved in their children's education, in particular, the extent to which such efforts successfully engage less involved parents. This may only occur when these parents are approached and treated as serious educational partners.

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ID Code: 13251
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Parent involvement, Early childhood, Early education, Approaches to learning, LSAC
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2015 02:28

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