14 SES 01 A, Parents' Perspectives and Beliefs on Children's Learning and Development
This communication aims to describe the concept of parental beliefs and parental expectations about skills development during kindergarten and to present research findings. As well as first school (Périsset Bagnoud, 2007), kindergarten is an interface between the home environment and the school environment. Therefore, for children and their parents, it is often their first contact with the school world. The distance between their family habitus and school habitus varies by family backgrounds (Plaisance, 1990). Access to information about the world and culture of education influences directly or indirectly the human capital of parents (Coleman, 1986) who must also build a “school capital” to understand this new environment.
One of the major goals of the kindergarten is to enable children to develop their socialization (Giroud, Meyer & Veuthey, 2014). Passerieux (2007) uses the term of “school socialization” because children are learning together. In fact, when children are developing cognitive skills, they are also enriched with social and emotional learning because the activities are usually carried out in groups (Saada & Durcret, 2009).
Parental beliefs and parental expectations on what is done or what they expect from kindergarten are not directly developed in the scientific literature. The concept of readiness is in this case closer. Indeed, parental beliefs about readiness are defined by parental perception on the level of acquisition of academic skills that a child must have acquired before starting kindergarten (Kagan, 1992). Affective skills, social skills and school habits are perceived by many parents as the fundament to be acquired before starting kindergarten. Cognitive skills and knowledge are put as second important placed up behind (Hatcher, Nuner, & Paulsel, 2012; Kim, Murdock, & Choi, 2005). While when it comes to the readiness to be acquired before starting primary school, parents perceive cognitive skills and knowledge as more important (Barbarin et al., 2008). In parallel, in terms of expectations about readiness, parents are also more likely to expect their child to develop social skills, emotional and academic habits before their child will start kindergarten (Achhpal, Goldman, & Rohner, 2007; Niikko & Havu-Nuutinen, 2009; Stamm & Edelmann, 2013).
In 2009, Switzerland has harmonized its school system. One of its main objectives was that all children start kindergarten at the age of 4 years in order to improve their understanding of the school language before beginning primary school (Hutterli & Vogt, 2014). Now, all children living in Switzerland are following two years of kindergarten between 4 and 6 years. Reducing inequality by lowering the entry age in school was already a French motivation since 1970 (Garnier, 2009). However the question on the entry age into the first school is not limited only to issues of inequality, but also on financial issues or cultural and social specificities (Brougère, 2002). For example, some mothers decide to delay the entry of their child either for reasons of maturity and development or for ideological and philosophical ideas (Noel & Newman, 2003).
More specifically, for this contribution, I will observe the change of parental beliefs and parental expectations in terms of social skills or in terms of cognitive skills according to the child's age when he is enrolled in kindergarten. How do parents perceive the skills that their child will develop during kindergarten? What do they expect more specifically according to the age of their child (4 or 5 years)? What are the differences between the parents’ beliefs and expectations based on their education and their professional category?
Achhpal, B., Goldman, J. A., & Rohner, R. P. (2007). A comparison of European American and Puerto Rican parents’ goals and expectations about the socialization and education of pre‐school children. International Journal of Early Years Education, 15, 1 13. Barbarin, O. A., Early, D., Clifford, R., Bryant, D., Frome, P., Burchinal, M., … Pianta, R. (2008). Parental Conceptions of School Readiness: Relation to Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Children’s Skills. Early Education & Development, 19, 671 701. Brougère, G. (2002). L’exception française: l’école maternelle face à la diversité des formes préscolaires. Les Dossiers des Sciences de I’Education, 7, 9–19. Coleman, J. S. (1986). Social Theory, Social Research, and a Theory of Action. American Journal of Sociology, 91, 1309 1335. Garnier, P. (2009). Préscolarisation ou scolarisation ? L’évolution institutionnelle et curriculaire de l’école maternelle. Revue française de pédagogie. Recherches en éducation, (169), 5 15. Giroud, P., Meyer, A., Vauthey, C. (2014). Pratiques déclarées d’enseignement et d’évaluation dans les premières années scolaires. Lausanne : Unité de recherche pour le pilotage des systèmes pédagogiques. Hatcher, B., Nuner, J., & Paulsel, J. (2012). Kindergarten Readiness and Preschools: Teachers’ and Parents’ Beliefs within and across Programs. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 14. Kagan, S. L. (1992). Readiness Past, Present, and Future: Shaping the Agenda. Young Children, 48(1), 48 53. Kim, J., Murdock, T., & Choi, D. (2005). Investigation of Parents’ Beliefs about Readiness for Kindergarten: An Examination of National Household Education Survey (NHES: 93). Educational Research Quarterly, 29, 3 17. Niikko, A., & Havu-Nuutinen, S. (2009). In Search of Quality in Finnish Pre-School Education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 53, 431. Noel, A. M., & Newman, J. (2003). Why Delay Kindergarten Entry? A Qualitative Study of Mothers’ Decisions. Early Education & Development, 14, 479 498. Périsset Bagnoud, D. (2007). Touche pas à mon école!. Permanence et changement dans l’organisation de l’enseignement. In M. Gather Thurler & O. Maulini (dir.), L’organisation du travail scolaire. Enjeu caché des réformes (pp. 39-56). Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec. Plaisance, E. (1990). La sociologie de l'école maternelle comme contribution à une sociologie de la petite enfance. Les cahiers du CERFEE, 4, 181-199. Saada E., & Ducret J.-J. (2009). Représentations des pratiques éducatives chez les professionnel-le-s de la petite enfance. Genève : Service de la recherche en éducation. Stamm, M., & Edelmann, D. (2013). Elternerwartungen an Vorschulkinder: Eine empirische Studie zu Rolle und ihren Determinanten. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Bildungswissenschaften, 35(2), 239 254.
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