The first paper, “What is Parent Engagement in Early Childhood Education? Depends Who You Ask,” describes a qualitative analysis of how 63 Baltimore City Public School parents, teachers, principals, early childhood staff, school district leaders, and community leaders define parent engagement in early learning. Themes related to trust, affective qualities of parent-teacher-school relationships, parent expectations, home-based activities, and school-based activities were described but stakeholder groups differed widely in the types of behaviors they believed were indicative of an engaged parent. Results have implications for how school districts serving a majority of families of color from low-income communities are seeking to promote parent engagement in early learning.
The second paper, “Developing a Meaningful Measure of Parent Engagement in Early Learning for Low-Income, Urban Families” describes a partnership grant with Baltimore City Public Schools to develop a measure of parent engagement in early learning for districts serving a majority of low-income families. Using a Delphi procedure, 10 members of a community-school-academic advisory board rated 106 potential parent engagement items previously generated from stakeholder interviews on 3 criteria: its relevance to young children’s academic success; its feasibility for all or most parents, even with limited resources; and the ability of schools to change the behavior represented in the item (i.e., its “actionabilty”). Only 13% (n=14) of items ranked high on all 3 criteria. Results have implications for how we are measuring parent engagement in underserved populations.
The third paper, “Exploring Variation in Parent Engagement in the Context of Preschool Intervention” examines 3 aspects of parent engagement in a Head Start preschool intervention in Pennsylvania designed to improve low-income children’s language/literacy and social-emotional skills. Results showed that different types of parent engagement (i.e., use of home learning materials, parent openness to and understanding of the parenting skills) were related to different outcomes and to their maintenance.
After the presentations, the discussant will make summary statements and moderate a discussion between presenters and the audience.