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Capitalizing on early childhood education: Low-income immigrant mothers' use of early childhood education to build human, social, and navigational capital
Vesely, Colleen K., July, 2013
Early Education and Development, 24(5), 744-765

Research Findings: Research indicates that early childhood education (ECE) serves various functions for societies and in turn families, including economic, educational, and social functions (Fukkink, 2008; Vandenbroeck, 2006). Using qualitative methods, we explored an aspect of the social function of ECE for low-income immigrant families. Specifically, in-depth interviews with 40 low-income immigrant mothers (19 Africans, 21 Latinas) were conducted to understand how low-income Latina and African immigrant mothers use their children's ECE programs to build human, social, and navigational capital. Latin American and African mothers both developed capital through interactions with their children's ECE programs. However, Latina mothers tended to rely on ECE more for building all 3 types of capital. Practice or Policy: The findings from this study highlight the significant role that ECE providers play in the lives of families, and particularly immigrant families, that goes beyond basic economic and educational supports. These findings point to the importance of training ECE educators and staff in fostering connections among and between families in their programs; educating parents, as many parents rely on their ECE programs for parenting advice and support; and working with local community agencies and resources to benefit children and families. (author abstract)

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Capitalizing on early childhood education: Low-income immigrant mothers' use of ECE to build human, social, and navigational capital
Vesely, Colleen K., 2012
Unpublished research brief

A study of the contribution of early childhood education to low-income immigrant mothers' development of human, social, and navigational capital, based on in-depth interviews with 40 immigrant mothers with children enrolled in one of three early childhood care and education programs in a large metropolitan area

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Child care decision-making literature review
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, December, 2013
(OPRE Brief 2013-45). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

The purpose of this review is to summarize research on the context and factors that facilitate parents' decisionmaking about child care. It is intended to provide a foundation of empirical knowledge for state administrators, early childhood program developers, and policymakers who can use information about child care decisionmaking processes and outcomes to improve their programs and services for families. The review reflects current and seminal work completed by researchers throughout the U.S. on the preferences, constraints and supports that influence parents' child care decision-making. Literature for this review comes from published journal articles as well as reports from studies funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation and other federal government agencies. The structure and content were selected to reflect topics of interest to early care and education administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders. (author abstract)

Literature Review


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Child care decision-making literature review [Executive summary]
United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, December, 2013
(OPRE Brief 2013-45). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

The purpose of this review is to summarize research on the context and factors that facilitate parents' decisionmaking about child care. It is intended to provide a foundation of empirical knowledge for state administrators, early childhood program developers, and policymakers who can use information about child care decisionmaking processes and outcomes to improve their programs and services for families. The review reflects current and seminal work completed by researchers throughout the U.S. on the preferences, constraints and supports that influence parents' child care decision-making. Literature for this review comes from published journal articles as well as reports from studies funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation and other federal government agencies. The structure and content were selected to reflect topics of interest to early care and education administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders. (author abstract)

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Child Care Decision-making, Subsidy Use, and the Development of Economic Self-sufficiency among Immigrant Parents of Young Children
Vesely, Colleen K., 2010
University of Maryland

Children of immigrants are the fastest growing segment of children in the U.S. with one quarter of children under age 18 having at least one foreign born parent (Hernandez, 2009). In addition, nearly 60%; of children of immigrants were enrolled in some form of ECCE in the year before Kindergarten (Magnuson, Lahaie, & Waldfogel, 2006). Still, we have limited understanding of immigrant families' experiences with the U.S. ECCE system. Consequently, the primary goal of this study was to provide insight into the experiences of low-income immigrant families as they navigated the early childhood care and education (ECCE) system. Specifically, African and Latino immigrants' child care decision-making experiences, their knowledge and use of child care subsidies, as well as families' strategies to achieve economic self-sufficiency were examined. The research questions were: (1) how do low-income immigrant mothers of preschool age children learn to navigate the U.S. ECCE system? Specifically, how do immigrant mothers select ECCE for their children and what factors shape this decision-making process; and (2) how do low-income immigrant families utilize ECCE, child care subsidies and other governmental supports to promote their economic self-sufficiency and support their parenting?

Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects


Early childhood care and education experiences of low-income immigrant families
Vesely, Colleen K., 2011
Unpublished research brief

A summary of a study of immigrant parents' early childhood care and education preferences, search processes, and experiences, based on semi-structured interviews with 40 immigrant mothers with children enrolled in early childhood programs in the Washington, DC, area

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Exploration of the status of services for immigrant families in early childhood education programs
Vesely, Colleen K., 2011
Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Immigrants make up at least 15 percent of the population in more than 50 countries (Matthews & Ewen 2006). In 2005, "One in every three international migrants lived in Europe and one in every four international migrants lived in North America" (UNPD 2005, 1). At age 3 and 4, children in immigrant families were less likely to be enrolled in preschool than their native-born counterparts (Hernandez, Denton, & Macartney 2007). Consequently, the goal of this study, which was conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation, was to add to researchers' and practitioners' understanding of how early childhood education (ECE) programs are currently working with immigrant children and families. Using qualitative case study methodology, including in-depth interviews with teachers, program staff, and parents as well as field observations in ECE programs in the United States and in Eastern Europe, analyses were conducted with respect to how high-quality programs work with immigrant families. Through qualitative analyses of the interview transcripts and field observation notes, four principles or themes emerged as particularly important for working with immigrant families: (1) improving quality of and access to ECE programs for immigrant families, (2) building relationships with immigrant parents and families, (3) supporting immigrant parents' identity development and representation in their communities, and (4) fostering staff dynamics, development, and well-being. Each of these is explored individually in the report, in terms of dynamics as well as recommendations for ECE programs currently working with immigrant families. (author abstract)

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It takes two: Sensitive caregiving across contexts and children's social, emotional, and academic outcomes
Vesely, Colleen K., October, 2013
Early Education and Development, 24(7), 960-978

Research Findings: Using longitudinal survey data from the Welfare, Children, and Families Study: A Three-City Study (n=135), this study examines how congruence in maternal and child care provider sensitivities contributes to young children's social, emotional, and academic outcomes among low-income minority families. Congruence groups were created based on levels of high and low maternal and child care provider sensitivity. Children with high maternal sensitivity and low child care provider sensitivity had lower scores on measures of social competence and applied problems compared to children with high maternal and child care provider sensitivity. Children with low maternal sensitivity but high child care provider sensitivity displayed higher emotional competence than children with low maternal and child care sensitivity, implying an important protective benefit of child care. Practice or Policy: Current state and federal policy climates, including recently awarded Early Learning Challenge grants focused on social and personal development and the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act, reflect an important emphasis on social and emotional learning. Given this, the findings from this study implicate the role of families and child care providers as important components in any policy or program focused on shaping children's early social and emotional outcomes. (author abstract)

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Learning how to navigate U.S. society with young children: Experiences of immigrant mothers utilizing early childhood care and education
Vesely, Colleen K., 2011
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park

A study of immigrant parents' early childhood care and education (ECCE) preferences, search processes, and experiences, and social capital gains from ECCE, based on field observations and semi-structured interviews with 41 immigrant mothers with children enrolled in early childhood programs in the Washington, DC, area

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Low-income African and Latina immigrant mothers' selection of early childhood care and education (ECCE): Considering the complexity of cultural and structural influences
Vesely, Colleen K., Q3 2013
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(3), 470-486

Grounded in ecocultural theory and utilizing in-depth interview data, this paper explores the experiences of 40 low-income immigrant mothers as they selected and secured early childhood care and education (ECCE) for their young children. Cultural and structural aspects of low-income immigrant families' lives and their influence in shaping these families' ECCE decision-making processes were examined. Latina and African mothers' experiences were considered, as these mothers' country of origin (COO) experiences were varied as well as their documentation statuses upon arrival in the US, with 15 of the Latinas being undocumented. Mothers discussed reasons for seeking ECCE, with maternal employment being most important. Some mothers looked to ECCE to recreate social experiences for their children similar to those in their COOs. Many mothers indicated looking for ECCE programs in which their children could learn English and interact with children from diverse backgrounds. Mothers tended to utilize social and organizational connections to secure ECCE and documentation of residence shaped the number and severity of obstacles mothers faced in securing ECCE. The findings from this study inform researchers, policymakers, and practitioners as to how both culture and structure shape ECCE decision making among low-income African and Latina/o immigrant families. (author abstract)

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Low-income immigrant mothers' use of strategies and supports to develop economic security in the U.S.
Vesely, Colleen K., 2011
Unpublished research brief

A study of low-income immigrant mothers' economic security over time and across borders, and their strategies to develop economic security in the United States, based on in-depth interviews with 40 immigrant mothers with children enrolled in one of three early childhood care and education programs in a large metropolitan area

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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