Mexican immigrants families' traditional and non-traditional language and literacy practices at home that prepare children for school in the United States
This qualitative study investigates the at-home educational efforts of six immigrant families as they prepare their children for school in the United States. The participants’ at-home educational activities were provided by the Mexican immigrant families using photographs of activities that they judged as skills which developed the child’s ability to engage with other children, teachers, and the curriculum on their first day at school. Photovoice methodology was used in order to provide the Mexican immigrants’ voice.
The families were recruited from a large urban city in the Southwest with a large immigrant population. They were recruited from medical centers, social support centers, churches with immigrant communities, and schools that had Mexican immigrant children in attendance. The schools and churches provided the greatest source of participants. The educational level of the parents varied from over fifteen years to three years of schooling in Mexico. The children in the study were citizens of the United States, were from two to four years of age, had not yet attended school in the U.S., but had siblings attending public schools in the United States. The families opened their life to the researcher and provided an insight through their photographs that could not have been gained if only interviews and/or questionnaires were used.
The twenty five photographs selected to identify the six educational themes that were highlighted throughout the study are demonstrative of what the families in the study were doing to prepare their children for their first day of school. Mexican immigrant parents have high expectations for their children and are willing to sacrifice for the children’s education.