Article

Profiles of family engagement in home- and center-based Early Head Start programs: Associations with child outcomes and parenting skills

Authors:
  • University of Oklahoma
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Abstract

Using the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study (Baby FACES; Vogel & Boller, 2009-2012), the present study employed a person-centered approach to identify profiles of family engagement in home- and center-based Early Head Start (EHS) programs. We identified three profiles with different patterns across two structural dimensions (home involvement and program involvement) and one relational dimension (parent-staff relationships) of family engagement in both program types. We then examined associations of these profiles with child and parenting outcomes at age 3 and the outcome change scores from age 2 to 3. For home-based programs, children in profiles 2 and 3 indicating high home involvement showed significantly higher engagement/orientation skills than children in profile 1 indicating low home involvement and low parent-staff relationships. For center-based programs, a high home and low program involvement (profile 2) and a high involvement (profile 3) showed better child and parenting outcomes in the areas of child receptive vocabulary, parental sensitivity, stimulation of cognitive development, and intrusiveness as well as greater increases in parental cognitive stimulation than families in a low home and high program involvement (profile 1). Profiles 1 and 3 showed fewer child problem behaviors and greater increases in child engagement/orientation than profile 2, while profile 3 showed higher social competence than profile 2. In addition, profile 1 showed greater increases in child emotional regulation than profiles 2 and 3. This study contributes to advancing our understanding of the role of different dimensions and patterns of family engagement in home- and center-based EHS programs.

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... Recently, evidence has emerged linking caregivers' involvement to preschool children's learning behavior [41]. Using a sample of children attending Early Head Start programs, Jeon et al. [49] found that children living in families with high levels of home-based involvement across ages 2-3 years showed significantly higher levels of engagement and orientation (i.e., positive affect and interest) than their peers living in families with low levels of home-based involvement. Moreover, Hayes et al. [50] showed that caregiver involvement in shared reading and home activities at age 2 years predicted children's positive learning behavior at age 6 years. ...
... We hypothesized that single parenthood (see Refs. [12,30], a low family socioeconomic status (see Refs. [13,31], a large family size (see Ref. [13], the poor physical health of the family (see Ref. [34], income loss (see Refs. [35,36], and household chaos (see Ref. [38] would be potential barriers to caregivers' home-based involvement. We also expected higher levels of home-based involvement to be associated with more positive learning behavior (see Refs. [41,49,50] and fewer symptoms of emotional distress in preschool children (see Ref. [54]. ...
... Specifically, the results showed that primary caregivers' higher levels of homebased involvement were associated with children's higher levels of positive learning behavior and lower levels of emotional distress, including anxiety/withdrawal, fearfulness, and acting out. These findings are consistent with the study's hypotheses, and adds to evidence from decades of research on caregiver involvement [41,49,50,54]; for meta-analytical reviews, see Refs. [39,45]. ...
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... This study is also informed by Kim and Sheridan's family engagement model (Kim & Sheridan, 2015). Two central dimensions of family engagement proposed by Kim & Sheridan (2015) include: (1) the structural dimension (ECEC and family efforts working side by side to support children's learning and development); and (2) the relational dimension (a focus on continuing communication, connections, and interactions between families and educators) (Jeon et al., 2020). The structural dimension can include parent involvement in activities in ECEC settings, which may provide the opportunity to observe practices used by educators to promote children's learning and development which parents can then implement in the home (Barnett et al., 2020). ...
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... High quality early learning programs that include parenting supports (for example, the Abecedarian program), have demonstrated significant long-term benefits for highly vulnerable children (Campbell et al. 2002). Studies have also demonstrated the importance of positive parent-educator communication to enhance the home learning environment (Jeon et al. 2020;Lin et al. 2019). Through engaging in responsive language-rich interactions, both parents and educators can play a significant role in improving the learning and development of young children. ...
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