New Americans: The Child Care Choices of Parents of English Language Learners (ELL)
Ward, Helen D.;
Atkins, Julie A.;
||Despite the significant benefits quality ECE programs offer to immigrant and refugee children, their rates of enrollment are significantly lower than for comparable children of U.S.-born parents (Matthews & Ewen,2006; Capps, et al, 2005; Brandon, 2002). The early care and education (ECE) system faces challenges in serving the youngest members of these new American families, particularly those who are English Language Learners (ELL). It is important for policymakers and child care providers to better understand the parents' work and child care needs, their cultural beliefs about child rearing and their perceptions about what their children need to get ready for school. ECE providers are keenly aware that the cultural sensitivity with which they care for the children who do enroll in their programs, as well as the degree to which they can successfully engage parents, has a bearing not only on the quality of care they provide but also on the likelihood that other immigrant parents will, through word of mouth, seek enrollment for their own children. Aided by a diverse Advisory Committee, this in-depth, exploratory study was conducted in two cities which reflect the varied experience with immigration across the country: Denver, Colorado, where we focused on Mexican immigrants and Portland, Maine, where we focused on three of the many refugee populations which have settled there: Cambodian, Somali and Sudanese children and families. Findings include an emphasis on exploring the concerns parents have about formal child care, differences in child rearing beliefs that influence decision making and implications for providers when classrooms have multiple cultures and languages spoken among the children with no one culture or language predominating. Research questions include: (1) What factors influence the child care choices of low income immigrant and refugee families of English Language Learners?; (2) How do immigrant and refugee parents' beliefs about child rearing, early education, and quality of care affect their decision to enroll their child and their choice among different care arrangements?; (3) How do broader cultural views (of the immigrant and refugee populations studied and western views) affect parental choice of care and satisfaction with care?; (4) To what extent do the practices of ECE providers and other service providers influence access to and choice of care?; (5) What are the perspectives of child care and other service providers about immigrants' choice of, access to and satisfaction with child care?; and (6) What are the effects of state and local policies on parental choice of, access to and satisfaction with care?
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