Head Start and School Transition

Daryl B. Greenfield, Principal Investigator

Parent Involvement Project:

Parent involvement has increasing been recognized as a key component to young children's development. Goal 8 of the National Education Goals 2000, for example, states that "by the year 2000, every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children."

There has been some disagreement, however, on the definition of parent involvement. Parent involvement, parent participation, home-school connections, home-school partnerships, family-school relationships are all terms used to described the interrelationship between the home and children’s school experiences. A number of models exist that vary in the conceptualization of parent involvement. Epstein, for example, divides parent involvement into six subtypes. Singh and colleagues, on the other hand, propose that definitions of parent involvement can be categorized into four major areas.

Despite these complications two clear principles emerge from research that is currently guiding our work in this area. First it is clear that parent involvement needs to be studied as a multidimensional construct. Second, the importance of these dimensions or subtypes are likely to vary both in their use by parents and the academic impact on children across cultural groups.

Our current work is focused on understand parent involvement in low income African American families and the impact of this involvement on children's school success during the transition into public school. Our long term goals are to understand this relationship in other major cultural groups in our community and then to apply this knowledge to improve home-school connections so that parents can become full partners in their children development and education.

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