Parent participation in early years settings in Northern Ireland: identifying the key themes in ‘becoming involved’

Elaine Duddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents findings from the first stage of a wider study exploring parents’ perspectives on, and experiences of, participation in Early Years settings in Northern Ireland. The data presented here consists of findings relating to becoming involved in these services. It emerged from in-depth interviews with 10 parents who are currently or have recently completed involvement with at least one universal NI Early Years service. A Constructivist Grounded Theory framework was used for gathering and analysing data with which to substantiate and challenge the themes and issues highlighted during the literature and policy review of the study’s scoping phase. The results show that parent involvement consists of two connected, sequential but separate processes of becoming involved and maintaining involvement with separate drivers for these two processes. This article focuses on the process of becoming involved and the drivers of this parental behaviour. Parents actively seek to become involved with EY services but this behaviour is almost entirely exclusive of any reported parental interest in Early Years involvement as a means to access ‘education’ for their children. These findings challenge the current policy and strategic focus of policymakers and EY service providers on ‘parent participation’ and ‘Parent as Educator’ in NI and U.K.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-692
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Issue number5
Early online date12 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


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