Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeanne L. Surface


The research is clear that parents and families are an essential component to the education of the whole child. Since this is so well-documented, it is essential for educator preparation programs to have coursework and experiences focused on this critical aspect of education. New teachers must leave educator preparation programs with the skills necessary to engage families. The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to explain the extent to which new teachers feel prepared to engage families in an early childhood setting. Therefore, this study explored the strengths and areas of growth in each teacher’s educator preparation program in regard to family engagement in the early childhood classroom. For the purpose of this research study, five second or third-year teachers in multiple midwestern school districts were chosen to participate in semi-structured interviews surrounding educator preparation and family engagement in an early childhood classroom. The research themes found in the data collection and analysis process were (a) encouraging family involvement, (b) forming and maintaining positive relationships, (c) providing a number of communication opportunities, (d) diversity among families, (e) time as a barrier, (f) minimal courses in educator preparation with a specific focus on family engagement, and (g) a lack of authentic experiences working with families.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2018 Jackie Proctor.

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