Tonya Thomas, an OU-Tulsa doctoral student in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, received a $25,000 Head Start doctoral dissertation grant through the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant research will focus on culturally responsive teaching practices and associations with family engagement and child outcomes in Early Head Start classrooms. Dr. Kyong-Ah Kwon will serve as the faculty principal investigator on the project.
The proposed study will examine associations among culturally responsive practices and strategies implemented in classrooms, family engagement, and children’s social and emotional development within a large Head Start agency. This mixed methods study will examine data from Early Head Start classrooms including 60 lead or assistant teachers and 120 parents or guardians of infants and toddlers in a small Midwestern city. During the 2017-2018 program year, Early Head Start (EHS) enrolled nearly 92,000 culturally diverse families and infants and toddlers in center-based programs (Office of Head Start, 2017). The increase in the number of culturally diverse families has significant implications for teachers of infants and toddlers in EHS settings. This grant will research the instructional practices that would best serve culturally diverse infants and toddlers and their families.