Parents as Teachers: Advancing parent involvement in a child's education

Shelly Lynn Taylor Albritton

Abstract

This study provides implications for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to continue to examine programs that promote school-to-home partnerships to help parents prepare young children for school success. Research has shown that the more involved a parent is in a child's education, the more successful the child will be in school. Parents as Teachers (PAT), an early literacy parent support program, promotes child development education and early literacy in efforts to empower parents in becoming their child's first teacher. Efforts in Mississippi to ensure children come to school ready to learn and to foster stronger home-to-school partnerships has included the establishment of sixty-three PAT programs across the state. This study's purpose was to examine: (1) The differences in the frequency of school participation between parents who have and have not participated in PAT, and (2) the difference in the levels of engagement in home learning activities between parents who have and have not participated in PAT. A Parent or Caregiver Survey was used to collect data from parents who had participated in PAT from four PAT sites, and from parents who had not participated in PAT from three Head Start centers (N = 80). The parents responded to questions that measured the frequency of involvement in school activities and the level of engagement in home learning activities. A major strength of this study was the parent involvement component of PAT was isolated and examined beyond other characteristics of the program. The primary limitation of this study was the small sample from which to draw data. The data was analyzed using chi-square for the frequency of school involvement, and an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for engagement in home learning activities. The overall results of the chi-square analyses indicated PAT parents were more frequently involved in school activities. The results of the ANOVA revealed PAT parents engaged in six of the twelve home learning activities more often than the parents who did not participate in PAT. Where differences were found, the items were primarily those that measured literacy-related activities parents engaged in at home.