Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education


College of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Research

First Advisor

Karen Monkman, PhD

Second Advisor

Amira Proweller, PhD

Third Advisor

Jennifer Mata, EdD


Despite more than half a century of debate about parental involvement in the education of children, it still remains an evolving and elusive topic. While much is written about Latino immigrants and U.S. schooling, much less is known from the parents´ perspectives. This qualitative case study explores the experiences and perspectives of immigrant parents in an early childhood Latino parent education program and the impact of this non-formal educational program on their role as parents. Theoretical lenses for this study are transformative learning (Mezirow, 1978) and popular education (Freire, 1970). Findings demonstrate that: (a) a context of isolation impacts parents´ roles and learning experience; (b) a nurturing and safe space for learning is critical for transformative learning; and (c) transformation is evident in parents as they move from self-doubt and fear to self-confidence, understanding and determination. The role of context, emotions, and the spiral nature of the process are key factors of transformative learning. Educators and organizations are to provide systematic support to sustain the transformative processes engaged by parents. Policy makers and private funders need to facilitate funds.

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