Even Start family literacy program participants' perceptions of parenting education, an integral component in family literacy programs
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Parenting education, combined with adult basic education and early childhood education, makes the Even Start program a unified family literacy program which helps to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and low literacy. Research studies have shown that the Even Start program has positive effects on its participants. Even though some of the effects are not explicitly tied to parenting education, they are closely related to parenting education. This study investigated the effectiveness of parenting education as perceived by its participants. The purposes of this study were to identify Even Start program participants?????? perceptions of parenting education, to explore issues related to parenting education, and to identify the impact of parenting education as perceived by the program participants. The interviewed parents considered parenting education an important component of the Even Start family literacy program. Findings in this study revealed how the participants used what they had learned in the parenting classes, incorporating their improved literacy skills to facilitate the growth of the whole family. According to the study participants, parenting classes provided a safe and comfortable environment for the parents to learn or validate their parenting practices, to identify themselves with each other, to build up a network of support system, and to practice their literacy skills in a context related to their everyday life. Since their participation in the parenting education, the study participants reported attainment of new insights about being a good parent, better communication with their children and other family members, improved education experience for their children, prolonged parenting values and practices, and improved family relationships. Using Bronfenbrenner??????s ecology model to look at the family literacy program, parenting education appeared to be the linkage between all components.