Head Start Fathers' Perceptions of Father Engagement Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Jones, Meredith
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • A core component in the field of early childhood and family development is the importance of focusing on the family as a unit of service rather than the individual child. Many early childhood programs (ECPs) aim at providing support to parents and increasing parent engagement as it has positive influences on children’s developmental outcomes. Despite the growing body of research on father engagement in the early childhood years, little is known about fathers’ perceptions of their engagement with their children and their children’s ECP. The purpose of this study was to explore fathers’ engagement with their young children and their experiences in Head Start programs. Interviews were conducted with twelve fathers of children enrolled in Head Start programs. Qualitative data were analyzed using descriptive and thematic coding. Findings suggest fathers engage with their children in a variety of ways at home and in the community. Participants also reported several ways they participate in their child’s ECP. Primarily, fathers communicated with teachers during pick up and drop off times, attended conferences and Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meetings, and attended events the fathers felt were important. Factors influencing their engagement included work schedules and availability, the mother-father relationship, and personal beliefs. Participants also offered suggestions for ways ECPs can increase father engagement. ECPs that value fathers, accommodate fathers work schedules, and treat them equal to mothers may increase father engagement in programs.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Able, Harriet
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2017

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