Date of Completion


Embargo Period



family engagement, preschool, communication, self-efficacy, teacher preparation, structural support

Major Advisor

Mary Beth Bruder

Associate Advisor

George Sugai

Associate Advisor

Jessica Goldstein

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Both families and teachers play an important role in preschool children’s learning and development and research has shown that both high quality preschool and family engagement in children’s learning at home improve children’s social and academic outcomes. However, it is not clear that teachers are adequately prepared or supported to communicate with families about children’s learning and development. This survey research involving 143 preschool teachers working in state or federally funded preschool programs examined the relationship between teacher preparation specific to family engagement, structural supports that provide teachers with opportunities to communicate with families, teacher’s feelings of self-efficacy related to communicating with families, and the frequency of communication. Surveyed teachers reported communicating more frequently about program events than about learning and development and engaged in in-person communication more frequently than remote methods of communication. Teacher preparation related to family engagement was correlated with higher ratings of self-confidence and self-competence, as well as higher frequencies of communication about learning and development. The number of structural supports was also correlated to self-confidence and self-competence and frequency of communication about learning and development; however, these correlations were weaker than those associated with teacher preparation. Further research into the role of different methods of communication, increasing understanding regarding the varieties of types of communication about learning and development, and examining these variables with a larger sample size will further the understanding of the complex relationship between these factors. Greater understanding of how to best support teachers to engage families in meaningful discussions about children’s learning and development should result in increased communication with families and ultimately improve children’s social and academic outcomes.