Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Ingle, William Kyle

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Johnson, Detra

Committee Member

Johnson, Detra

Committee Member

Oldham, Adrian

Committee Member

Whitmore, Kathryn

Author's Keywords

Refugee parents; preschool; acculturation; self-efficacy; resettlement; phenomenography


Over the years, researchers have documented the behaviors of refugee parents and their challenges as it relates to their children in preschool programs. However, there is a gap in the literature for understanding the refugee parental perception of preschool after resettlement, and what motivates or detracts from preschool enrollment. This research study was conducted to understand the phenomenon of preschool enrollment by refugee parents. The phenomenography research methodology was chosen for this study because it explores how a group collectively perceives a phenomenon. In this study, the research addresses how refugee parents perceive enrollment in public preschool programs. The data used for this research were primary data sources. Participants completed a questionnaire and participated in a semi-structured interview. The research data include 34 questionnaires and 12 semi-structured interviews. The participants were recruited from two refugee resettlement agencies. Interviews were conducted over a period of seven months. Some participants were interviewed in their native tongue using interpreters provided by the resettlement agencies while the others spoke English and did not need an interpreter. The interviews were audio and video recorded and then transcribed. The transcripts were iteratively analyzed using instruments developed by the researcher and NVivo coding. This analysis resulted in the identification of the categories of description, category outcomes, and the outcome space. The categories summarize the outcome space “survival instinct,” which describe the refugee parental perspective on preschool enrollment. This study, reveals the need for more research on refugee parental views as it relates to education acculturation. Future research may seek to explore how to empower refugee parent with knowledge and skills that support their hopes and dreams for their children’s educational journey and survival.