Whose decision is it? Unpacking shared decision-making as a component of partnership in New Zealand early childhood education centres

Original research paper
nzrece journal© ChildForum

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Full reference
Zhang, Q. (2016).Whose decision is it? Unpacking shared decision-making as a component of partnership in New Zealand early childhood education centres. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, Special Issue: Equality and Diversity, 19, 78 - 89. Retrieved from http://www.childforum.com/research/vol-19-2016-nzrece-journal/1360-shared-decision-making-parent-teacher-centre-partnership.html


Whose decision is it? Unpacking shared decision-making as a component of partnership in New Zealand early childhood education centres

Qilong Zhang
Waiariki Institute of Technology, NZ



Despite the partnership rhetoric, early childhood education practitioners have found it difficult to establish a genuine partnership with parents, and this is in part due to the tensions in shared decision-making – one component of partnership. The aim of this study is to investigate approaches to mediating such tensions by teachers and parents. The study is a two-stage design. The pilot stage involved semi-structured interviews with teachers and parents from one kindergarten on their experiences with shared decision-making, which captured typical dilemmatic situations of shared decision-making. The main stage explored a sum total of the approaches to resolving the three dilemmatic situations captured in the pilot stage based on interviews with teachers and parents from two kindergartens and eight childcare centres. Data analysis generated three themes each of which form a continuum of mediatory dimension, and the three interrelated continua form a conceptual model that helps the practitioners to intentionalise and theorise their practice of shared decision-making in local contexts.

Key words: Shared decision-making; partnership; relationships; early childhood.


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