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How Did Newly Immigrant Mothers Arrange the Summer Activities for Children’s Transition to First Grade? A Comparative Study in Taiwan
transition to first grade
newly immigrant mothers
after school care service
The summer prior entering first grade was an important transitional period for young children. Many parents would register extra-curricular programs specifically designed for such a transitional time. For instance, learning Chinese phonetics has been a common activity during the particular summer in Taiwan. For Taiwanese families with newly immigrant mothers, what kinds of activities would they plan for their children in that summer? How did they make decisions and why? The present study focused on how newly immigrant mothers from Mainland China and Southeast Asia countries arranged the summer activities for children. It aimed to understand families of these mothers’ thoughts and process of decision making for arranging the summer activities. Five families with immigrant mothers from Mainland China and 5 with immigrant mothers from Southeast Asia countries were recruited in Taipei, Taiwan. The focal participants were the immigrant mothers and their young children. Other family members such as fathers, grandparents, or siblings were included. Overall, there were 30 participants in the study. Semi-structural interviews and participant observations were conducted to collect data. Qualitative methods were applied to analyze data. The primary results were as follows: (1) All ten immigrant mothers thought activities relevant to learning in first grade was crucial to spent time in the summer. They arranged activities about academic lessons, artistic and sport activities, summer camps and free play. Regarding academic lessons, they thought knowing how to write and pronounce Chinese phonetics was important. They all registered programs specifically for learning Chinese phonetics. Additionally, math and English classes were also arranged. (2) Immigrant mothers all deemed the summer should involve preparation for first grade. However, cross-cultural and social barriers prevented them from planning the summer as effectively as native mothers. They relied on limited information obtained from elementary schools, their own experience from native countries or information from neighbors or relatives. (3) Differences were found among two groups of immigrant mothers. The differences stemmed from family socioeconomic status and the original nationalities of the mothers. The language and educational systems were more accessible to mothers from Mainland China. Yet mothers from Southeast Asia countries needed more assistance from family members or neighbors. (4) These mothers’ expectation for their children suggested a common idea of “not lagging behind peers,” which reflecting worries of the mothers about their children’s future achievement.
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