Families with limited resources supporting early childhood education
Ruffatto, Carrie Lynn
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This research addressed the problem that children who live in low-income or poverty situations are exposed to numerous risk factors that contribute to their poor performance in school. Due to this exposure to poverty, families living with limited resources may not be aware of how to give their children access to a future with the most potential. Two surveys were given to families with children in kindergarten at four Title I schools in central Montana. The surveys collected demographic information, open ended response to questions related to parent support for early childhood learning, and ranking scales determining the frequency with which children participated in various academic and non-academic activities with their parents. Ranking scales were also used to quantify parents' understanding of the school system, their involvement with the public school, participation in Parent Teacher Association, and what areas of parent involvement they wish to learn more about. This research indicated that parents with limited resources have been, and continue to be supportive of early education through the use of preschool and interacting with their children in academic activities. They have expressed interest in learning about free community events and youth sporting events. Parents in this study prefer methods of passive communication such as newsletters and pamphlets when learning about something new. Limited resource parents indicated that they understand the learning community and are involved in their child's education, but they are less involved in the PTA and helping in the classroom than non-limited resource parents. To support learning and academic growth, parents with limited resources are reading, helping with homework, and playing educational games with their children. This research did not indicate any barriers preventing parents from being more involved in the learning community. Parents with limited resources are supportive of early education, but there are still opportunities to get them more involved in their child's education.