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Title:“We’re gonna’ do it together!”: a qualitative study of school readiness beliefs and practices among low-income Latina mothers and teachers in a suburban head start
Author(s):Coba-Rodriguez, Sarai Estafania
Director of Research:Jarrett, Robin L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jarrett, Robin L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Murray-Nettles , Saundra; Wiley, Angela; McBride , Brent
Department / Program:Human Development and Family Studies
Discipline:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Latino/a families, school readiness, Head Start
Abstract:The transition to kindergarten is a critical milestone in children’s lives, with implications for academic and future life success. Research documents that Latino children are disproportionately at-risk for being unready for kindergarten compared to their Black and White peers. Researchers report that low income Latina mothers and preschool teachers often hold different beliefs about the skills that children should possess and the type of activities they engage in to promote school readiness. However, little is known about parental beliefs and involvement practices before school entry, especially for low-income Latina mothers living in the suburbs. Challenging deficit perspectives that often characterize low-income families of color, this study used qualitative interviews and a resilience framework to better understand school readiness beliefs and practices of low-income Latina mothers (N = 17) and preschool teachers (N=5) in one suburban Head Start. Several findings emerged. First, mothers understood school readiness as consisting of nominal knowledge and emergent literacy. Preschool teachers emphasized literacy skills and socio-emotional skills, suggesting a small misalignment between mothers and teachers. Mothers understood parental involvement as being home-based rather than school-based involvement and focused on life involvement rather than academic involvement. Teachers stressed home-based activities but focused on academic skills. Mothers and teachers differed on the types of home-based activities needed to promote children’s readiness. Second, Latina mothers are actively involved in preparing their children for kindergarten and engage in multiple activities and conversations. Mothers demonstrated resilience through the use of kin and Head Start. Barriers to parental involvement included demanding work schedules and limited English language facility. Finally, mothers and teachers provided recommendations on how to support Latino children’s kindergarten transition. These findings contribute to our substantive and theoretical understanding of school readiness practices within low-income Latino families during the preschool years.
Issue Date:2017-06-15
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98233
Rights Information:© 2017 Sarai E. Coba-Rodriguez Do not distribute or cite without the authors written consent.
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08


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