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Angel Chan

Doctor of Philosophy, (Sociology)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The politics of identity, belonging and exclusion: Chinese immigrant parents' involvement in New Zealand early childhood education

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Parental involvement and parent-teacher partnership are key notions promoted in New Zealand early childhood education (ECE). Their value for children’s learning and development is widely recognised. Diverse immigrant families have transformed the demographic make-up of ECE centres in Auckland. Ms Chan’s research examined Chinese immigrant parents’ involvement in their children’s ECE and the factors that influenced their participation. Using life story interviews and critical discourse analysis, she identified an unequal positioning of institutional and familial practices. Chinese immigrant parents’ concerns and aspirations were often silenced. Without a sense of entitlement and belonging, these parents avoided engaging in their children’s kindergartens, revealing an implicit and subtle form of exclusion. Yet, they actively utilised a range of strategies to fulfil their parental aspirations, and were determined to maintain the families’ cultural identity and heritage. While they were highly involved in their children’s learning at home, parent-teacher partnership remains elusive.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley
Dr Jenny Ritchie

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