Nearly 86% of Head Start preschools serve non-English speaking families. The Head Start preschool program has been shown to increase academic proficiencies in children entering kindergarten and has been particularly successful in helping immigrant children entering the U.S. education system. Family involvement in their child’s education as early as preschool has been correlated with positive academic and behavioral outcomes throughout childhood. Given the importance of Head Start services for immigrant families, this study seeks to better understand variables associated with involvement in Head Start among immigrant families. Data was collected from a diverse sample of immigrant and U.S. born families to better understand what factors influence a family member’s level of involvement in their Head Start program (n = 196). Participating parents and caregivers were from 17 different countries and completed surveys regarding a variety of demographic information, caregiver’s level of satisfaction in Head Start services, and caregiver’s level of involvement in Head Start services. Results indicate a family’s language and birthplace have no significant relationship with a family’s level of involvement in their child’s education. Rather, a family’s satisfaction in the services provided by the school shows the strongest associations with a family’s involvement in services. Demographic variables associated with involvement in a child’s education include a caregiver’s level of education and a caregiver’s relation to the child. Findings indicate that caregivers with low educational attainment and in non-traditional families may be in need of targeted intervention focused on increasing levels of satisfaction in services.

Key Take Away Points

  • Immigrant and native-born caregivers do not differ in their levels of involvement in their child’s Head Start program
  • Satisfaction in Head Start services impacts levels of involvement in Head Start services among immigrant and native-born caregivers
  • Caregiver’s level of education and caregiver’s relationship with a child impact levels of involvement in a child’s Head Start services