Children Starting School – The Lived Experiences of Mothers in the UAE and UK


A successful first transition to school impacts positively on both academic achievement and social development for the remainder of the school years. Rimm-Kaufman and Pianta’s (2000) Ecological and Dynamic Model of Transition describes the relationship between time and context on transition, specifying how the relationships between the key stakeholders, for example, parents, family, teachers, children, school, affect each other across time. Taking such a perspective highlights the need for research which focuses on different cultural settings and groups of children. This study reports a comparative account of the lived experiences of school transition into FS1 for mothers who had a first child starting school in either the UK or the UAE. Participants took part in a semi-structured interview in which they looked back over the first year of their child starting school, discussing their hopes and expectations for their child as they started school and their lived experiences of the first year of schooling. Responses were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. The thematic analysis employed drew upon a a phenomenological perspective, focusing on the experiences of the mothers. Two main themes emerged from the data: Positive Experiences; and Adapting to Change. Both of these themes were evident in the UK expat and the UAE national mothers. A pattern emerged which identified differences and similarities in experience and that these changed during the first year of school. Listening to the voices of mothers from different cultures around transitioning provides a clear route to the design of culturally appropriate transitioning practice.

Author Information
Rachel Takriti, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates
Susan Atkinson, Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: International Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon