Defining ‘meaningfulness’: Enabling preschoolers to get the most out of parental involvement

Qilong Zhang
Waiariki Institute of Technology

While previous studies have shown the potential benefits of parental involvement for children’s learning and development, certain types of parental involvement are considered by some researchers to be ‘ineffectual’ and ‘meaningless’, which leads to the question: What types of parental involvement are meaningful? Adopting Grounded Theory Method (GTM), the study aimed to identify elements that constitute meaningfulness of parental involvement in early childhood education. Interviews were conducted with 23 participants (11 teachers, 12 parents) from three types of early childhood settings in New Zealand. The findings showed that a combination of desirability, practicality and effectuality determined meaningfulness of parental involvement, which was a complex interplay between the dynamics of involvement, activity of involvement and impact of involvement that engaged all parties of the parent–teacher–child trinity.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 40 No 4 December 2015

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