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Building on the Hopes and Dreams of Latino Families with Young Children: Findings from Family Member Focus Groups

Abstract

In the past, Latino families were often regarded as being uninvolved in their child’s education, particularly within the parent involvement literature. More recently, authors are encouraging educational professionals to look at a family’s “funds of knowledge” to encourage their involvement. This expression takes into account the knowledge a teacher can gain from a family and child, including awareness of culture, familial background, and other contributions the family can add to the child’s education. This article reviews findings from the analyses of focus groups conducted with Latino family members who have a child(ren) enrolled at a Head Start Center. Findings indicate that Latino families openly communicated strengths, interests, aspirations and learning opportunities for their child and family yet often faced barriers in conveying these to teachers and other staff in their child’s life. Implications for using inquiry-based approaches to bridge this gap in family-school communication are discussed.

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Notes

  1. From this point in the paper on, “I” will refer to the first author.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by a Head Start Innovation and Improvement Grant from the Association of Children & Families/the Office of Head State (90YD022401). The opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the position of OHS.

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Correspondence to Katy Gregg.

Appendix: Focus Group Questions Provided to the Moderator

Appendix: Focus Group Questions Provided to the Moderator

  • Q1. Tell me about your child’s strengths and interests.

    • Q1a. Tell me about the opportunities you have to share information about your child’s strengths and interests with your child’s teacher(s).

  • Q2. Tell me about your family’s strengths and interests.

    • Q2a. Do you have the opportunity to share them with your child’s teacher(s)?

  • Q3. Tell me about the hopes and dreams you have for your child.

    • Q3a. Tell me about the opportunities you have to share your hopes and dreams for your child with your child’s teacher(s).

  • Q4. How often do you communicate with your child’s teachers and family partners?

    • Q4a. Tell me about any barriers you have experiences in communicating with your child’s teachers and family partners.

  • Q5. Does your child’s teacher help to identify ways your child can learn at home and at school that are linked to your child’s strengths and interests?

  • Q6. Tell me about what your child learns at home.

  • Q7. Have you been able to take some of the things your child is learning in school and carry them over into your home activities?

    • Q7a. What does this look like (learning at home)?

**Primary questions are bulleted and secondary or follow-up questions are indented.

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Gregg, K., Rugg, M. & Stoneman, Z. Building on the Hopes and Dreams of Latino Families with Young Children: Findings from Family Member Focus Groups. Early Childhood Educ J 40, 87–96 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-011-0498-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-011-0498-1

Keywords

  • Latino families
  • Family involvement
  • Head start
  • Funds of knowledge
  • Natural learning opportunities
  • Focus groups