NYU Steinhardt News

McWayne and Melzi Win Head Start Grant

Christine McWayne, assistant professor, and Gigliana Melzi, associate professor, in the department of applied psychology have received a $500,000 grant from the Head Start University Partnership-English Language Learners program to further their research on levels of family involvement among a culturally diverse Latino population of preschoolers and their families. English-learning Latino children are at a significant risk for academic underachievement, but a better understanding of how Latino families support their children in academic endeavors is necessary to report sufficiently on educational policies and practices for this group.

McWayne and Melzi's proposed research seeks to strengthen the connection between the home and school environments of English-learning Latino children. They intend to study the ways in which Spanish-speaking, Head Start Latino families support their children's school readiness through their involvement behaviors and to better understand the parents' perception of family involvement in their children's early educational experiences. McWayne and Melzi hope to answer necessary questions about culturally relevant measures of family involvement that are lacking in scientific research today. The grant from Head Start will help them to find results which will have a direct impact on the Head Start programs in New York City, and suggest implications for early childhood programs serving Latino families and children all over the United States.