Parental attitudes, behaviors, and barriers to school readiness among parents of low-income Latino children

Jaime Peterson, Janine Bruce, Neel Patel, Lisa J. Chamberlain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We sought to explore parental attitudes, behaviors, and barriers regarding school readiness in a county clinic serving low income, Latino children. Between December 2013–September 2014, we conducted a cross sectional survey of parents during 3–6 years well-child appointments about school readiness (SR) across: (1) attitudes/behaviors; (2) barriers; and (3) awareness; and (4) use of local resources. Most parents (n = 210, response rate 95.6%) find it very important/important for their child to know specific skills prior to school: take turns and share (98.5%), use a pencil and count (97.6%), know letters (99.1%), colors (97.1%), and shapes (96.1%). Over 80% of parents find education important and engage in positive SR behaviors: singing, practicing letters, or reading. Major barriers to SR were lack of knowledge for kindergarten readiness, language barriers, access to books at home, constraints on nightly reading, difficulty completing school forms, and limited free time with child. Awareness of local resources such as preschool programs was higher than actual utilization. These low-income, Latino parents value SR but lack knowledge to prepare their child for school and underutilize community resources such as free preschool programs. Pediatricians are uniquely positioned to address these needs, but more evidence-based interventions are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number188
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Low-income children
  • Parents
  • Pediatrics
  • School readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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