A study of parent's perceptions regarding services provided in Head Start\Transition programs in Fairfax County, Virginia
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Parental involvement in the education of their children is acknowledged to be a major factor in children's successful growth. However, the changing nature of families, particularly low income, minority families has had a significant effect on the nature and extent of such involvement. The national Head Start\Public School Transition project is designed to maintain, among other purposes, the high level of parent participation found among parents of Head Start children as these children enter public schools. The shifting character of these families has made this a difficult task. Little is known of the perceptions of schools and the barriers to participation in public school functions which are present in these families.
The purpose of this study is to discover these perceptions in a group of African American and Hispanic families who are part of the Virginia component of the Transition Project.
Five families with children currently attending first and second grade classrooms where Transition services and opportunities for participation are offered were selected for in-depth study. The family, the program, the teacher, and the school were studied in detail using observation, interviewing and document analysis in a standard case study format. Field notes and interview material were transcribed and coded using the software package, Ethnograph Themes, story lines, and concepts were allowed to emerge and were then summarized.
Several themes relating to constraints to participation were identified including: motivational characteristics, expectations of the school, goals for children, teacher receptivity and the culture of the school. It was discovered that these specific parents were interested in participating in their child's education, yet in the Transition program, guidelines and expectations were unclear to them and intimidating to others. A recommendation for working with the parents of children enrolled in Head start\Transition Programs include providing a variety of opportunities, based on the interest of the parents are available. Additional suggestions for programs such as the Transition Project are provided in this study.
- Doctoral Dissertations