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Learning the rules: Chinese immigrant parents' involvement during their children's transition to kindergarten


This study examines Chinese immigrant parents’ educational involvement beliefs and practices during their children’s transition to kindergarten in the United States. Interviews were conducted with 10 Chinese immigrant parents in an area with a small Chinese population and limited ethnic resources. Three main themes emerged. First, limited English proficiency and inadequate knowledge of the American educational system are barriers to parental involvement. Specifically, although parents acknowledged the importance of family-school partnerships, they were not confident interacting with teachers or local parents. Parents expressed concerns that their limited English skills would adversely impact their children’s academic and mental development. Additionally, parents explained reasons for having high educational expectations for their children, given the unequal educational opportunities for immigrant students. Second, Chinese immigrant parents endeavored to understand the American educational system, and they adjusted their beliefs and practices by comparing American and Chinese schools and volunteering in the school. Third, Chinese immigrant parents navigated ethnic resources by building a collaborative ethnic community and creating parent support groups on social media. This study highlights that although immigrant background restricted Chinese immigrant parents’ educational involvement, they were keenly aware of the importance of parental involvement in supporting their children’s kindergarten transition and actively adjusted their educational involvement beliefs and practices. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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