The public defense of Tuula Vuorinen's doctoral thesis
The public defence of Tuula Vuorinen's doctoral thesis ”The interface between parental responsibility and preschool teachers’ competence ‒ parental collaboration in preschool"
It is widely agreed that home and preschool collaboration is beneficial for children´s learning, development, and well-being. The importance of parental collaboration is also emphasised in legislation guiding the preschool. The education system has undergone changes, which have to some extent altered the mission of the preschool. Parents also face new demands and expectations in their collaboration with the preschool. Parental collaboration in preschool is a neglected research area, with empirical studies largely lacking parents' perspectives. The overall aim of this dissertation is therefore to explore the experience of parental collaboration in preschool, by addressing preschool teachers’ competence and parental responsibility as described by teachers and parents. The results are based on thoughts and experiences shared through interviews with 30 preschool teachers and 10 parents. Data were gathered and analysed by means of conventional content analysis and constructivist grounded theory.
The results demonstrate that both preschool teachers and parents appreciate parental collaboration in the preschool. They also emphasize the importance of developing and strengthening the relationship between home and preschool. However, preschool teachers and parents approach collaboration from different starting points and perspectives. Preschool teachers endeavour to support parents in their parental role and consciously work to familiarize parents with their professional skills as regards children's learning and the content of the preschool curriculum. Parents, on the other hand, strive to shoulder their parental responsibilities by `remote parenting´ when persuading preschool staff to `indivisualize´ and `individualize´ preschool practice. This means on the one hand that they try to find out how well their child is thriving in preschool and how the child’s needs are met. On the other hand, they press for changes if they identify shortcomings in these respects. Time, continuity, and recognition are seen as central to building secure and authentic relationships.
The results demonstrate the importance of practitioners critically examining the norms and values that are expressed in the meeting between them and parents, as well as endeavouring to create preconditions for practical relationship building and collaboration in the preschool. Weak or non-existent relationships not only contribute to weakening parental participation and parental familiarity with the preschool, but also make it more difficult for guardians to exercise their legal parental responsibilities and support their child.
Register to take part
To be able to participate in the PhD defense, you need to pre-apply to administrative research support staff Marja Mutikainen firstname.lastname@example.org by informing your name and e-mail. You also need to inform if you wish to take part in Zoom or in Kappa. Last day to register is November 25, 2020.