An analysis of Malaysian-Chinese parents' negotiation of identities as their children begin early childhood education and care in Malaysia and Australia

Shi Jing Voon
2022
Families with young children experience numerous and varied routines. Waking up, choosing clothes and travelling to the childcare centre are but some of the essential elements of daily life. Consistent routines are crucial in developing children's feelings of predictability, security and trust. These feelings assist in regulating behaviours, especially during transitions in family life, such as commencing formal early childhood education and care (ECEC) for the first time. Transitions may lead
more » ... o disjuncture, described by Jarvis (2005) as a state of learning when existing experiences and current expectations differ. In order to gain a full understanding of how parents overcome this particular ECEC disjuncture, it is vital to consider the roles and responsibilities that they attach to their identities. A range of historical and relational considerations in the form of goals, beliefs and understandings enable parents to negotiate multiple identities. Parents' negotiation of multiple identities is influenced by the disjuncture of personal and/or family goals, beliefs and understandings. This situation is further complicated for immigrant parents. Socialised in different societies, it is common for immigrants to bring cultural baggage with them to their new country. This study investigates the characteristics of the Malaysian-Chinese parent identity as their children begin formal ECEC in Malaysia and Australia. Borrowing from the notion of goodness (Dixson, Chapman, & Hill, 2005), this study searches for strengths that lie in how parents meet, negotiate and overcome challenges to their beliefs, goals and understandings during this state of disjuncture, and provides insights into their perceptions of their evolving identities. Data were collected in the form of non-participant observations of daily family routines and semi-structured interviews with 21 Malaysian-Chinese parents of children 5 months to 5-years-old in Kuala Lumpur and Sydney. Analysis of interview transcripts and field notes was undertaken from an e [...]
doi:10.25949/19434368.v1 fatcat:orglohe7qrbtpf5tcxuxvpwnyq