Supporting parents as their child’s first teacher: Aboriginal parents’ perceptions of kindilink
Early Childhood Education Journal
School of Education / School of Arts and Humanities / Student Administration
This paper reports on Aboriginal parents’ perceptions about their involvement in a Western Australian pilot initiative called KindiLink. The program seeks to support parents as their child’s first teacher and thereby enhance Aboriginal children’s early-years development, while strengthening relationships between families and schools. A constructivist paradigm was used to inform the methodology which placed Aboriginal voices at the centre of the research. Data were collected from 125 participating family members, over two years and across 37 school-based KindiLink sites. The results show that parent contribution to and engagement in KindiLink provided a powerful context to acknowledge, encourage, and support parents. Parents identified the development of strong and mutually respectful relationships; the engagement in working with their child; and the incorporation of families’ cultural and linguistic knowledge into the program as positive contributing factors. The paper concludes with recommendations and implications for the further development, implementation, and evaluation of Kindilink and other programs targeted at disadvantaged communities.