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Exploring parental perceptions of early childhood education among Spanish-speaking Latinx families


Children that participate in early childhood education (ECE) experience improvements in academic, social, and life outcomes. However, since Latinx children continue to be enrolled in ECE at lower rates and face many barriers to entry, the true benefit to Latinx individuals is unknown. The current qualitative study utilizes focus groups (and an individual interview to ensure thematic saturation was met) (N = 38) to gain knowledge of Latinx perceptions of ECE. Respondents were predominantly female (84%), immigrants from Guatemala (79%), and had been living in the United States for more than 10 years (58%). Thematic analysis and elements of grounded theory were used to analyze the data. Findings illustrated that the majority of Latinx respondents believed in the value of formal, center-based ECE (such as Head Start) and wanted their children to benefit socially and intellectually from this resource. While Latinx families identified acculturation and community support as facilitators to ECE access, they also described pervasive structural and cultural barriers (e.g., transportation, gaps in knowledge, fear of discrimination, and family unity) that could explain lower rates of ECE enrollment in prior literature. Regarding perceptions of quality, Latinx families endorsed the importance of trust, co-learning, and bilingual staff to increase satisfaction with ECE programs. Overall, the results suggest the importance of added bilingual infrastructure and improved communication to the Cincinnati Latinx community in order to decrease the ECE resource gap. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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