Perceptions About Parental Engagement Among Hispanic Immigrant Mothers of First Graders from Low-Income Backgrounds

Samantha Berkule Johnson*, Jenny Arevalo, Carolyn Brockmeyer Cates, Adriana Weisleder, Benard P. Dreyer, Alan L. Mendelsohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Parental engagement is critical to children’s educational achievement. Before and during elementary school, it is crucial for parents to be involved in their children’s education in order to foster development and achievement. Hispanic parents’ immigrant status, coupled with a lack of English proficiency, means that they often find themselves of low socioeconomic status (SES). Being low SES also means that parents possess fewer resources for engaging with their children. The current study seeks to understand low-income, primarily Hispanic mothers’ perceptions of their roles in their first grade children’s education. Mothers were interviewed regarding parenting confidence related to teaching their children, and responses were analyzed using qualitative research methods. Mothers in this study associated their roles in their children’s education with two primary areas: helping their children to learn, and raising their children to be well-behaved and respectful. The main barrier to parental confidence in these roles appeared to be mothers’ lack of English proficiency. This is consistent with previous research demonstrating that Hispanic parents maintain the perception of a lack of proficiency in English as a significant barrier to parental involvement in their children’s education in the United States. Future interventions with teachers and parents may benefit from these findings in consideration of the optimal ways to involve parent related to their perceived personal strengths regarding parental engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Low-income
  • Parental engagement
  • Parenting confidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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