Background: Preschool children from single-parent households with lower socioeconomic status (SES) are absent from preschool at rates higher than any other group. Some children are chronically absent, missing more than 10% of the school year. The phenomenon of preschool attendance related to behaviors, practices, and parental decision making associated with health and illness in lower SES households has not been previously studied using grounded theory methodology. Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore decision making related to supporting attendance in a preschool of 67 children (aged 3 to 4 years) with primarily low-income, single parents and preschool teachers in South Florida. The decision making process parents and teachers face every day and the environmental supports of preschool attendance facilitated identification of factors encouraging or impeding attendance. Results and Recommendations: Focus groups and interviews with teachers, parents and administrators were conducted, and direct observation of the school attendance process and health/attendance policies were examined. Data analysis was concurrent with data collection to allow for theoretical sampling. The data analysis revealed an underlying process of "communicating about health: benefitting children's attendance in a preschool environment." Supporting this theory were three themes of (a) empowerment: actions to support health, (b) trusting judgment regarding health, and (c) commitment of organization and parents to health and attendance. Recommendations for implementation of practice, policy changes, and opportunities for future research found in this unique setting were discussed to improve attendance.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Nursing
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Meoli, Anne, "Preschool Attendance: A Parental and Teacher Perspective of Barriers and Behaviors using Grounded Theory Research" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4924.