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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29920

Title: Parents' Day-to-day Involvement and Challenges with the Early Learning and Care System: Implications for Policy and Practice
Authors: Bell, Caron Gayle
Advisor: Pelletier, Janette
Department: Human Development and Applied Psychology
Keywords: early learning
kindergarten
service integration
parent involvement
child care
educare
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2011
Abstract: In Canada and internationally, policy makers are moving towards more comprehensive and integrated service delivery models for early learning that include parent involvement and support as integral to their design. The current study was part of an ongoing evaluation of the Best Start project in Peel Region, a municipality in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Best Start aims to integrate preschool, junior/senior kindergarten, child care, public health and parenting programs into a seamless, easily accessible early child development system. This study examined whether parents with kindergarten children enrolled in Best Start schools, where kindergarten and child care were co-located and service integration was underway, would report lower levels of parenting daily hassles compared to parents of children in demographically similar schools where there was no service integration. Parental perceptions about hassles specific to child care and early learning settings were measured using the Early Childhood-Parenting Daily Hassles Scale (EC-PDH) (Arimura, 2008). Three areas of parenting stress that could potentially be reduced through service integration were explored: (1) seamless day – seamless access to care, education and family support; (2) connectedness – parents feeling involved and connected to their child’s school; and (3) parenting capacity – parents feeling confident in their parenting role. The study also combined hassles scores from Best Start and comparison schools to examine all parents’ involvement in the early learning and care system and the hassles they may or may not face on a daily basis as a function of parent demographics and program usage. Parents from 369 families in 10 schools were included in this study. Although Best Start parents did not report lower levels of parenting daily hassles compared to comparison parents, qualitative analyses at Best Start sites where parents used child care suggested that parents were feeling supported and they were forging positive relationships with staff. The positive relationships reported among parents and ECEs or other staff were not as frequent between parents and kindergarten teachers. Combined data indicated that all parents seemed to be experiencing the greatest hassles in the parenting capacity domain. Results are discussed in terms of policy implications for parent involvement in integrated full-day early learning programs such as full-day kindergarten.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29920
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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