Building family partnerships and learning communities (discussion question 2)

In a 2001 study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the Center for Children and Families at Columbia University, researchers investigated how family support services and parenting education programs assisted children enrolled in Early Head Start.  They found that children enrolled in the program were more likely to have advanced communication skills and parents who were more involved in developing their literacy skills (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).  This program involved Epstein’s communication type of parental involvement in that the parents were actively engaged in reporting their children’s progress to teachers at the Early Head Start program and study researchers.

A study conducted by Ho Sui-Chu and Willms discovered that there are some ethnicity-dependent variations in the way that parents of high school students enforce homework rules.  African Americans tend to be more involved at home than whites, and Hispanics and Asians tend to supervise their children at home more than other groups; all ethnic groups report a fairly equal level of school involvement, with the exception of Asians, who reported a lower than average participation in the school environment (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).  This illustrates Epstein’s ‘Learning at Home’ type of parental involvement and emphasizes the importance of providing parents with information about how to help their children with homework so that they can assist in promoting literacy in the home environment.

The Project EASE study in 2000 researched how teacher-supported home literacy programs can improve the reading and comprehension skills of kindergarten students from low income families.  Teachers provided parents with reading-related activities to complete with their children, and researchers found significant literacy gains, especially amongst the children who had initially scored the lowest on literacy tests (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).  This study illustrates Epstein’s ‘Parenting’ type of involvement by demonstrating how parents can become collaborative partners in their children’s education by using the home as another learning environment.


Henderson, A.T. & Mapp, K.L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school,    family, and community connections on student achievement. Southwest         Educational Development Laboratory.