Over the last 30 years, increasing attention has been paid to 'early childhood education and care services'-by governments, by parents, by employers, by local communities and by researchers. The reasons have been varied. As women have joined men in the labour market, the demand for non-parental care has grown. The importance of early learning has been increasingly recognized, both in its own right and because many believe it may enhance subsequent academic performance. ?arly intervention has come to be seen as a means of preventing or ameliorating problems in families with young children and in later childhood, as well as protecting children deemed to be at risk. ?arly childhood education and care services are discussed as a condition for urban and rural development and as part of the social and economic infrastructure of healthy and wealthy local communities.
The focus on the structure of families has ignored what is most important to any child's ethical development: an ongoing, trusting relationship with at least one adult who is ethical and mature, and who listens and encourages without shying away from his or her moral authority. A mountain of research now shows that it is the content of adult-child interactions, not the structure of families, that most strongly determines the shape of children's ethical development. That's what makes parenting a profoundly moral act, and learning to parent well a profound moral achievement.
We have known for some time that parents play a critical role in both their children's academic achievement and their children's socioemotional development. It is only recently, however, that researchers have studied the role schools play in encouraging and facilitating parents' roles in children's academic achievement. Critical to this role is the relationship that develops between parents and teachers and between communities and schools. Although a relatively new research area, there is increasing evidence that the quality of these links influences children's and adolescents' school success, in part because high quality linkages make it easier for parents and teachers to work together in facilitating children's intellectual development (). Yet, mounting evidence suggests that parents and teachers are not as involved with each other as they would like to be. Several studies find that parents want to be more involved with their children's education and would like more information and help from the schools in order to meet this goal. Teachers also want more contact with parents. Furthermore, the situation gets worse as children move from elementary school into secondary school, when parents' active involvement at the school declines dramatically. To fully understand what is limiting parent involvement, a general model of parent involvement is needed.
Most educators have been trained in individual teaching modalities such as psychology, counseling psychology, school counseling, or school psychology. Hence, the natural inclination of educators with these types of training is to conduct individual sessions with adolescents. However, individual educating may not be as effective as family education in working with gifted children for several reasons. First, research suggests that family education is an effective treatment modality for a number of adolescent educational problems, including internalizing and externalizing disorders (Dencik, 2001, pp.65). Second, family functionality has been shown to predict positive and negative development outcomes among gifted children. Third, the family plays a crucial role in facili tating or inhibiting talent development during the adolescent years. In addition, family education has been recommended by professionals in the field of gifted education for families with gifted children and for issues related to giftedness such as underachievement and dual-exceptionalities (Cherrtholmes, C. 2003 pp. 43). There are converging lines of evidence that suggest that family education can be an effective approach for gifted and talented children, especially those with adjustment difficulties, or dysfunctional family systems....