Transition to Kindergarten and Parent Involvement in Schools: A Phenomenological Study about Parents Perceptions and Experiences
Parent involvement in school has proven its effectiveness (Jeynes, 2012). Students whose parents are involved tend to present better behavior at school and achieve higher quality of homework and schoolwork (Cancio, West and Young, 2004; Epstein 2001). In the case of children transitioning to kindergarten, parent involvement can help them overcome adjustment difficulties and receive the support they need to succeed (Patel and Corter, 2013). In order to increase parent involvement among parents of children transitioning to kindergarten, school counselors, teachers and other school personnel can benefit from understanding how parents perceive parent involvement and what experiences they are having as their children transition to kindergarten. The purpose of this study was to describe, using a qualitative approach, how parents of children transitioning to kindergarten perceive parent involvement and how they have been experiencing parent involvement during this transition. This study included the participation of ten parents whose children were enrolled in kindergarten in a public school in Southern California. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed through the process of coding. Findings showed that there are different ways of parent involvement and that such involvement is the result of a teamwork that happens through interactions between the parent, the child, and the school. Moreover, discussions of the findings also revealed that schools that offer services and support to parents during the kindergarten transition help them become more involved parents. Lastly, it was brought to knowledge that parents of children transitioning to kindergarten do not always know about the existence or the role of the school counselor, who could be serving as an important support to these parents and their children. Important implications are offered for school counselors, counselor educators, and kindergarten teachers, as well as recommendations for future research.