Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
High-quality preschool is freely available at two locations in a rural area. However, many parents choose not to send their children to preschool at all, despite its availability and demonstrated benefits to children. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study was to understand why families did not enroll children pre-K. Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems model was used as a conceptual framework for the study. which suggests that child development is influenced by multiple environmental factors. Research questions were related to examining the perspectives of parents who had not enrolled their children in pre-K on their inhibitions and inducements to enroll their children in pre-K. Interviews were conducted with parents who did not enroll their children in high-quality preschool. Semi-structured interviews with 12 parents of kindergarten-enrolled children at a single school in a mid-west state were conducted to address questions. Data acquired from interviews were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. Inhibitors to enrollment included lack of transportation, lack of knowledge of program availability, and parental attachment to their young child. Participants reported the currently zero cost as an inducement, and they noted that more convenient transportation and extended pre-K hours would also induce them to enroll their children in pre-K. Parents disagreed about the usefulness of pre-K, with some asserting its benefit in providing academic skills and socialization and others arguing that it is not beneficial to children. This study could lead to positive social change by encouraging public outreach to inform parents better about the benefits of high-quality pre-K programs and ways to increase knowledge of their availability.