The Arkansas Family and Community Engagement Coalition is devoted to creating partnerships between students, families, schools, and community resources across the state. The Department of Community Engagement provides essential health education and leads hospital initiatives in local community activities. This study investigated the degree to which parental involvement in Head Start programs predicted changes in both parent and child outcomes over time, using a nationally representative sample of 1,020 three-year-olds spread over three waves of the Family and Child Experiences Survey. Early childhood programs often focus on both children and parents, utilizing a bi-generational approach (Chase-Lansdale & Brooks-Gunn, 201).
The Arkansas Department of Education acknowledges families as essential collaborators for student success, engaging in meaningful communication that provides an effective learning experience for every student. This study looked at whether parental involvement has implications for parental controlling behavior and, in turn, for children's academic and behavioral skills over time. Parent participation in early childhood settings can take many forms, but the most common activities are volunteering in classrooms, attending parent-teacher conferences, and attending other school-related functions. In this sample of Head Start attendees, parents participated more actively in the classroom than in the center's social gatherings; more specifically, parents actively participated in social events at least six times during the year, while participating in the classroom a minimum of 14 different occasions.
Addressing the two key strategic imperatives of education and prevention, the community engagement team offers interactive health education activities across Arkansas with developed programs, presentations, and specific partnerships. These activities are designed to help children and families make healthy, wise and informed choices now and throughout their lives.
We hypothesizedthat participation in Head Start would predict positive changes in parental behavior at home and that any improvement in parenting would predict improvements in children's development over time. Several characteristics of the teachers were included as covariates, namely educational level, years of experience in early education, whether they had received a degree in early childhood education, and their depressive symptoms (as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale).
Changes in parenting behaviors were associated with a reduction in parental use of spanking and an increase in cognitive stimulation. These changes were also indirectly associated with children's school success, predicting improvements in parenting. Recent advances in developing person-centered models offer new opportunities to determine what combinations of participatory activities explain these associations.