The involvement of African-American caregivers in Head Start

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Marjorie Montague - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Robert F. Moore - Committee Member


The purpose of this study was to describe the involvement of African-American caregivers in Head Start program activities. The study identified the primary caregivers of African-American children attending Head Start centers in North Dade County, Florida, reported how caregivers wished to be involved in Head Start activities, and described the barriers that prevented them from participating in Head Start activities.Subjects were 65 African-American caregivers whose children attended Head Start centers in North Dade County. Caregivers were 20 to 68 years old, predominantly mothers, with an average of three children. Personal interviews were conducted with each caregiver at Head Start centers throughout North Dade.Simple frequency analysis and nonparametric Chi-square analyses were conducted. Frequency distributions revealed that mothers were the primary caregivers of children attending these centers. Working in the classroom and attending field trips were the two most desired involvement choices for caregivers. The time meetings were held and the work schedule of the caregiver were the two most salient problems preventing parents from participating in center activities. Findings indicated that caregivers were involved in activities that directly related to their own children, but were not involved in decision-making and parent education activities. More than 95% of the caregivers reported working with their child at home on classroom based activities. Chi-square tests results indicated no significant relationship between demographic variables and how often caregivers participated in selected center activities.Overall, caregivers were involved primarily in center-based activities and consistently uninvolved in decision-making and parent education activities. While an overwhelming majority of caregivers felt that parent involvement was very important and that opportunities for involvement were available, a disproportionate number of caregivers participated in center activities. Further, the absence of any discernible patterns of behavior or background characteristics that can differentiate involved caregivers from uninvolved caregivers indicated that caregiver involvement with this population is a complex phenomenon that cannot be explained by the identification of discrete demographic variables.


Black Studies; Education, Early Childhood

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