Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Patricia Anderson


Head Start expects parent involvement as part of parents’ in-kind contribution to the program, but data from a multi-center Head Start agency in the southeastern United States indicated many parents do not meet this expectation. Lack of parental involvement in Head Start children’s education was the problem of focus in this study. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of the perspectives of Head Start parents regarding their roles in their preschool children’s education. The work of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler formed the conceptual framework for this study. The research questions focused on how parents describe their responsibilities for their children’s education, self-efficacy in assisting their children to become successful, and feelings involving being invited or not invited to participate in their children’s education. Seven low-income parents from 2 Head Start centers in the target agency were interviewed as part of this study’s basic qualitative design using interviews. Data were analyzed using open coding. The findings in this study suggest that Head Start parents feel involved and take responsibility for their children’s education, and they are motivated by family, friends, and their children to participate in children’s education. However, Head Start parents described being involved in home-based activities and not in school-based activities considered by Head Start. Home-based parent involvement is an integral part of parent involvement and should be included by Head Start in terms of accounting for parents’ in-kind contribution to the program. This study will contribute to positive social change by offering insight into Head Start parents’ perspectives of their roles as well as engagement in preschool children’s education, as well as ways teachers and administrators can support increased parent involvement.