Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, PhD

Second Advisor

Karen Buchanan, EdD

Third Advisor

Dane Joseph, PhD


This phenomenological qualitative study aspired to learn from the personal stories of three Latina mothers regarding their perceptions of academic success for their young kindergarten-aged children and what they do to foster and encourage that success. Each of the participants was a Spanish-speaking, first-generation immigrant from Mexico. Their Spanishspeaking children were English learners who attended Kindergarten at the same Title I elementary school and who scored higher than their English-speaking peers on the Oregon Kindergarten Assessment in the areas of in the areas of self-regulation and interpersonal skills. This study used in-depth interviews to explore the mothers’ lived experiences around their children’ academic success and shared findings through assertions, vignettes, and supporting detail. Four major findings surfaced through analysis of the data: a) the mothers prioritized early learning opportunities to help prepare their children with skills needed for kindergarten, b) the mothers valued literacy in English and Spanish while maintaining Spanish as the language of the family, c) maintaining routines was a key part of parenting for the mothers, and d) the mothers faced obstacles in facilitating success for their children. Implications from the study suggest the importance of early learning opportunities, highlight the need for educational leaders to identify and remove barriers for immigrant families who speak languages other than English, and call for culturally responsive communication practices and equity perspectives to inform educational practice.

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