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“I write my letters at school, so I’m ready, right?”: Low-income Latino children’s transition from Head Start to kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten is a significant period in children’s education that initiates the development of skills that promote future academic success. Studies indicate that Latino children in the United States are disproportionately disadvantaged during this critical period of development, and are most likely to fall below the recommended level of kindergarten readiness. Researchers report that Latina mothers often have different beliefs and perceptions of school readiness and parental involvement, but little is known about the preparatory practices of low-income suburban Latina mothers before children enter kindergarten.  This study used qualitative interviews to better understand the factors that influence Latino children’s kindergarten readiness and how low-income Latina mothers (N = 17) engage in their children’s educational development as they transition to kindergarten.

            Latina mothers reported understanding kindergarten readiness in terms of nominal knowledge and emergent literacy skills. When asked about parental involvement practices, mothers reported home-based involvement focusing on socialization rather than school-based involvement focusing on academics. The mothers in this study also reported being actively involved in their children’s kindergarten preparation, engaging in various activities that promote children’s readiness. Barriers to parental involvement were also noted, and included language barriers and busy work schedules. These findings contribute to our understanding of school readiness practices, and parental involvement within low-income Latino families during the transition from preschool to kindergarten.

Zahera Ali
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
Research Advisor: 
Dr. Robin Jarrett
Department of Research Advisor: 
African American Studies
Year of Publication: