Where Do I Send My Child with Disability? How Australian Parents Negotiate Their Kindergarten Placement Dilemmas


Joseph S Agbenyega

Monash University, Australia


Deborah Tamakloe

Washington State University, USA



(Received 11December 2013, Final revised version received 17April 2014)

Choosing a kindergarten for young children is a highly demanding process. For parents who have children with disabilities this process can be particularly challenging, given the choice between special and inclusive kindergartens. While there has been wide-ranging research on parental concerns of kindergarten practices involving children with disability, there is little attention paid to how parents who have children with disabilities negotiate kindergarten choice dilemmas. This qualitative case study focuses on four Australian parents who have children with disabilities and reports on their perspectives regarding how they negotiated choices in placing their child with disability in either a special or an inclusive kindergarten. Using the notion of „contact zone‟ as an interpretive framework, this article illustrates that kindergarten choice is difficult, involving complex considerations. For parents who have children with disability, choosing a school is hard work, in many ways a struggle to negotiate conflicting dilemmas in an attempt to find a school that can better shape the life courses for their children.

Key words: kindergarten, inclusive education, disability, contact zone, trust.