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Enriched early childhood experiences: Latina mothers' perceptions and use of center-based child care

Latino children in the U.S., particularly from immigrant families, are less likely than their peers to attend early care and education (ECE) programs, but this trend may be shifting. This study used longitudinal, ethnographic data from Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study to explore low-income Latina immigrant mothers' ECE decisions, including how they learn about, perceive, and select ECE (N = 31). Results of analysis employing grounded theory and narrative approaches revealed two interesting paradoxes. First, for many mothers, center-based child care was viewed as distinctly different from more informal types of non-maternal care and thus, not perceived as a barrier to family time. Second, mothers praised the learning opportunities and education their children received in formal center-based programs, but rarely linked it to preparation for elementary school or the transition to kindergarten. These results are discussed in terms of consistencies with prior quantitative and qualitative research and new directions for research and policy aimed at promoting the well-being of Latino immigrant children and families. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
Illinois; Massachusetts

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