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Facebook: A place to build relationships and to collaboratively support each family’s journey to school

Hazel Woodhouse

Children’s transition from an early childhood education setting to school needs to involve children and their families to best support the family in this time of change. This article focuses on a case study from doctoral research exploring the potential of Facebook™ to create a virtual community of practice to support children and their families’ transition to school. Analysis of data supported other research about online communities in relation to the stages of participation that families progressed through as they developed a sense of belonging, both in the online community and within the physical and social spaces of the new entrant classroom. The findings also indicate the significance of teachers being responsive to families’ needs and interests and that a social media platform can be a very successful tool for supporting families and children’s transition into a new environment. Drawing on the concepts of Gilly Salmon’s (2001) five-stage model (for e-learning); the article argues that social media can provide opportunities for families to co-construct and support their sense of belonging in a new environment.

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