“A mi nadie me ayudaba: Scholl Readiness Beliefs and Involvement of Latina Mothers and Preschoolers

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Jazmin Landa


Research has recently shown that the number of Latino children
in the U.S. education system continues to increase. Additionally,
Latino children are at a greater risk for not being prepared upon
their entrance to school. Such unpreparedness puts Latino children
at higher risk for facing lifetime challenges (e.g., school
dropout, financial hardships). Scholars have also identified the
inconsistency in defining school readiness. Most of the research
on school readiness focuses on white, middle-class families and
therefore such findings cannot be generalized to Latino families
given its lack of culturally contextualized models. As a result, the
purpose of this study was to examine Latino parents’ perspectives
on what school readiness means, as well as what they are
doing to ensure that their child is ready for school. The study
used a series of qualitative in-depth interviews with low-income,
Latina mothers of preschool age children transitioning to kindergarten.
Mothers were recruited from a Head Start program in a
large Midwestern Northwest suburb. Using an interpretative approach,
we analyzed the interviews as well as used the qualitative
data analysis program, N-Vivo, to interpret the data. Using
these strategies, we hope to have a better understanding of Latino
parents’ perspectives on school readiness. Such findings will
allow us to suggest effective ways Latino parents can contribute
to their children’s academic success.

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