Parental involvement is a critical component of early childhood education (ECE) programming with the aim to support child development. However, the efforts designed to support this aim are challenged by the increasing diversity in race/ethnicity in ECE classrooms. First, parents from different racial/ethnic backgrounds seem to have different patterns and levels of parental involvement, and the effects of multifaceted parental involvement on child outcomes seem to differ by race/ethnicity. Second, within ECE classrooms, it remains challenging to support meaningful parental involvement for children and families from diverse racial/ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. This dissertation aimed to address these issues by investigating the within- and between-group variations regarding the effects, attributes, and predictions of parental involvement on child readiness and growth during early transition. Two independent but related studies were conducted. The first study examined the moderation effect of race/ethnicity and multifaceted parental involvement on child outcomes. The second study tested the moderation effect of race/ethnicity and ECE attributes (i.e., teacher and classroom characteristics) on multifaceted parental involvement. The aim was to understand what ECE programs can do to support child development via investing in meaningful parental involvement for all children and families.
Data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) were used because these families are at higher risk of school failure. Four groups were included: White, Black, English-speaking Hispanic, and Spanish-speaking Hispanic. Three facets of parental involvement were investigated (i.e., school-based involvement, home-based involvement in cultural activities, and home-based involvement in learning activities). The theory of ecology, social capital, and cultural capital were applied to guide the theoretical frameworks. Findings of the first study revealed that home-based involvement in cultural activities emerged as a stronger predictor of child outcomes within the White and Black samples; whereas school-based involvement was a stronger predictor within the Hispanic groups. In the second study, ECE attributes had positive effects on most groups except the Black sample. This dissertation has significant implications for policy issues related to the readiness gap during early transition as well as parental involvement practices within the Head Start framework.
|Advisor:||Bagnato, Stephen J.|
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Educational psychology|
|Keywords:||Early transition, Ethnicity, Family engagement, Head start, Home-school relation, Multigroup comparisons, Parental involvement, Race|
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