LEAF is a proven, practical way to give children a positive start to pre-school and primary through a school, parent and community partnership.

Starting kindergarten or school is a stressful time for many children and parents. Sometimes a rough start carries forward; an expectation of poor results may become self-fulfilling and the child's life options are narrowed.

LEAF is a program that links the school teachers, parents and community resources as partners in supporting a child's entry to education.

LEAF recognises that teacher, parents and community all have different, equally valuable contributions to make and that by working together they can achieve much more.

LEAF was developed in WA, hands on in local schools and communities. It's been validated by excellent results, it's even won awards (2009 WA Department for Communities Children's Week Outstanding Individual Award, the WA Department of Education 2009 Rural and Remote Partnership Community Award and the 2009 National Excellence in Teaching Award for Community Engagement).

A LEAF program can be initiated by a school, a teacher or by parents or a community, but it can only succeed when parents and teachers put in the time, in a real partnership.

The LEAF manual explains how you can set up a LEAF program. At this stage there are no support services beyond this manual, but my hope is that wide distribution of this manual will expand the success we have already enjoyed as the direct result of parent, teacher and principal support – and encourage the provision of support services for LEAF programs.

Many things we need can wait, the child cannot. Now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood being made, his mind is being developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.

[Gabriela Mistral]