Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Early Childhood Education

Committee Chair

Sally Blake

Committee Member

Beverly E. Cross

Committee Member

Cathy Meredith

Committee Member

Kakali Bhattacharya


The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate parents of Latino origins' perceptions of educational environments in preschool programs in the US by examining individual experiences, expectations and socio-cultural understanding regarding American educational systems. Thisstudy consist of five female parents of Latino origin with children enrolled in a child care programat a midsouthern US, urban community college. Across the eight-week data collection period, the parents participated in a series of activities to communicate their perceptions and experiences with North American educational institutions. primary methods of collecting data includeda sequence ofinterviews, field observations recorded in a journal, parents' photo representations of childhood icons, and a focus group discussion. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and all data forms were coded inductively to discover emerging patterns of parents experiences and expectations. To better understand the expectations and perceptions of Latino parents, as a collective group, I focused on two interpretive questions: 1) What are Latino origins parents perceptions of north American Schooling? 2) How do the cultural experiences and expectations of Latino parents influence their view of early childhood education? The following were identified as major themes:1) Language is more influential than cognitive ability. 2) Early childhood is viewed through a generational lens. Six sub-themes emerged from the two major themes:1) Latinos are marginalized by academic failure based on language; 2) North American Schools use language to equate cognitive abilities; 3) Latina have not observed greater cultural awareness; 4) Younger generations view early care as valuable; 5) Older generations view early care as unnecessary; and 6) Family is the primary educator of young children. The participants' cultural perceptions of early care programs echo the connections between education, culture, race, family , and equality. By breaking the silence, and allowing parents of Latino origin to tell their story, researchers can document ways to construct and eliminate some of the limited social conditions in education.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.