Parent involvement in children’s education plays a critical role in student achievement and outcomes later in life (Epstein, 1995). Much research has been conducted about the benefits of parent involvement in elementary school and middle school. Less research has been conducted pertaining to early childhood education, namely children from birth through age eight. The limited research that has been conducted demonstrates that parent involvement at the preschool and primary grade levels is associated with greater achievement in reading and less grade retention all the way through grade eight (Basile & Henry, 1996). Parent and family involvement provide comfort for children in social and cultural contexts, ultimately enhancing cognitive development (Pattni- Shah, 2008). Increasing parent involvement enables greater understanding of children and families’ needs, cultural continuity, more effective instruction, greater feelings of teacher and parent appreciation, and increased learning (Galper, Feeney, & Seefeldt, 2009). Parent involvement in early childhood education affords many benefits while a lack of parent involvement, which may result from a variety of reasons, creates deficiencies (see Appendix A).
Instructional Problem Description
Educators are faced with many problems of varying degrees of frequency and urgency. A lack of parent involvement in children’s education is a trend teachers and administrators are noting in schools across the nation (Finders & Lewis, 1994). However, before this lack of parent involvement can be addressed, it is essential that “parent involvement” is defined and contributing factors are understood. Parent involvement encompasses many things: nurturing and being sensitive to children's developmental needs, communicating with school personnel, volunteering in the classroom and for special events, providing children with learning opportunities at home, helping children with homework, getting involved with decision-making committees at school, and more (Basile & Henry, 1996). St. Clement is a Catholic School in Baltimore, Maryland that, like many other schools, struggles with a lack of parent involvement. There are some parents who do not show up for conferences, children report do not help them with homework, and never volunteer to help the school in any way. There is a need to increase parent involvement for many reasons, including providing children with maximum educational benefits, better meeting family needs, increasing the resources available to the school, and more.
Parent involvement at St. Clement School has decreased over the last several years. To examine trends of declining parent involvement, the second grade class was used as a focus group since children in this group are still in the primary grades and are preparing to transition into the intermediate grades. In this group, it was observed that parent involvement has decreased as children have advanced grades. Perhaps, parents feel...