Edith Cowan University
Parenting issues have been found to be some of the most challenging issues facing refugee parents in Australia, particularly in regards to their children’s education. To date, minimal research has considered the experiences of refugee parents from specific cultural groups in relation to their children’s school readiness and transition to kindergarten. Furthermore, there is a gap in research exploring how supported playgroups can assist refugee parents throughout these experiences. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to explore the meaning Burundian refugee mothers in supported playgroups ascribe to their experiences of children’s school readiness and transition to kindergarten. A total of nine participants were recruited, including six Burundian refugee mothers from ‘It Takes a Village’ playgroup, two playgroup staff and one kindergarten teacher. Using an interpretive phenomenology approach, data was analysed and four main themes were identified: concept of school readiness, preparing children for school, transition to kindergarten, and benefits of the playgroup. The mothers’ experiences of their children’s school readiness and transition to kindergarten were generally found to be difficult, and impact negatively on their psychological well-being. Furthermore, there were many perceived benefits of supported playgroups in assisting these women and enhancing their psychological well-being throughout these experiences.