UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reclaiming Jung-Suh : investigating Korean parents' choice of an early childhood program Yu, Hye Won


The purpose of my study is to investigate Korean parents’ rationale behind their choice of sending their children to a preschool program that hosts mainly Korean children and instructs the curriculum in English. This qualitative case study involved in-depth interviews with six mothers and examined their cultural, social and educational reasons for sending their children to one particular school, which for many involved long drives from their homes on a daily basis. The research questions that guide the study include: 1) What considerations influence parents’ decisions to enrol their children in a Korean-Canadian preschool? 2) How do the parents view this space/place in regard to preserving Korean culture, language and identity? 3) How do the parents’ concerns and decisions embody (if at all) Korean-Canadian immigrant experiences of living between cultures? Study findings illustrate the mothers’ desire to maintain their children’s Korean identity and language and prepare their children with English language skills needed for elementary school. The main motive behind these desires is to ensure that teachers and peers in the Kindergarten classroom do not overlook their children. The mothers also expressed their desire that the program support their children’s Korean identity and language by maintaining Jung-Suh, a particular way of living and being as Korean. These mothers expressed a belief that maintaining Jung-Suh would keep their children’s Korean identity alive and encourage their children to preserve their Korean language which would allow their children to sustain intergeneration relationships and deepen their cultural connection. The mothers’ experiences highlight courage and agency as well as a sense of vulnerability that they encounter as immigrants to Canada. I frame their experiences within colonial theory, reproduced through the practice of mainstream Eurocentric schooling. I conclude with my own decolonizing learning as part of this research.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada