Preparing to Start School: Parent and Early Childhood Educator Narratives
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This chapter presents a narrative multi-case study that draws on a postocolonial and postmodern narrative theoretical framework and methodology. The narratives recounted by three mothers, four educators, and home-childcare communication documents concerning the children's upcoming transition to school and educator-parent relationships are presented. For example, Marie-Ève’s narrative is centred around her own sense of comfort at the childcare centre; focuses on the difficulties of transitioning between educators for her son, Matéo; and explains why she believes that he will do well in school. She also identifies home routines to modify once her son starts school. Anne, Matéo’s educator, describes Marie-Ève’s involvement in centre activities, and blames Marie-Ève’s difficulty with Matéo’s transition from group to group on the fact that she is a single mother of an only child. Nicholas has two different educators, Suzanne and Nadia. His mother Audrey is thrilled with her experience at the childcare centre, and relies on additional personnel at the centre, such as the pedagogical advisor, for support and assistance. She claims to not be ready for her son to start school. His two educators have very different understandings of the family, and very different concerns about the child starting school. Finally, Emma’s mom Christine was shocked to find out that her daughter had a language delay when she began childcare at age four, and recounts the routines she instituted at home in order to prepare her two daughters for childcare. Hannah, Emma’s educator, describes the process of building a trusting relationship with Christine. She is worried about Emma starting school, but hopes that she will be fine, because of Christine’s active involvement in the childcare centre. The analysis/interpretation of the narratives focuses on the ways in which mothers and educators draw on and resist metanarratives of deficiency, school readiness, and pedagogicalization of parents when they narrate their transition experiences. For example, three of the educators’ narratives draw on a metanarrative of deficiency to judge divorced or single parent families, implying that these families can be detrimental to children’s well-being, while the other educator was able to craft a counternarrative by focusing on the father’s well-being as a member of the childcare centre community.
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as well as the Fonds de Recherche Société et Culture Québec. We would also like to thank Maria Frangos for editing and proofreading assistance.
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