Head Start Effects beyond the Classroom: Parent Involvement Promotes Children’s School Readiness by Changing Parenting

Arya Ansari, University of Texas at Austin
Elizabeth Gershoff, University of Texas at Austin

This article examined the extent to which parent involvement within Head Start programs predicted changes in both parent and child outcomes over time using a nationally representative sample of 1,020 three-year old children over three waves of the Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES-2006). Center policies that promote participation predicted greater parent involvement, and parents who were more involved in Head Start centers demonstrated increased investment and warmth and decreased spanking. In turn, these changes in parenting behaviors were associated with gains in children’s academic and behavioral skills. These findings have clear implications for Head Start policy, such that encouraging parent involvement in the Head Start program can serve as an important means for promoting both parent and child outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods