This study described and explored perceptions of the context and behaviors of seven 4-year-old children whose parents attended a parenting education program, Active Parenting Today. A group of nine volunteer parents participated in and completed a minimum of four out of six Active Parenting Today parenting education classes.
Qualitative research techniques were utilized to guide the inquiry in both the data collection and analysis. The primary methods of collecting data were in-depth interviews, anecdotal records, and the administration of both a questionnaire and the Childs Goals of Behavior form to parents and educators respectively at the beginning, the ending, and 10 weeks following the conclusion of the Active Parenting Today classes. The theoretical framework for this study was based on the conceptual theory of Bronfenbrenners ecological and environmental model, Coles social capital theory and Stowers theory of optimum social distance.
Results showed that parents unanimously positive perceptions of the Active Parenting meetings were valuable in strengthening the connections between home and school. Results of the data analysis were used to verify the congruency among parents, teachers, and classroom educational aides regarding their perceptions of children’s behaviors. Results were also used to explore parents congruency regarding the perceptions of their parenting styles. The findings, conclusions and recommendations generated through this study should be of interest to educators in the field of early childhood programs for at-risk populations as a means to lend credence to the need for parenting education programs as a valid component in these programs.