Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Andrea Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Regena Nelson

Third Advisor

Dr. June Gothberg


Headstart, mixed methods explanatory study, early childhood education, COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic altered education in dramatic ways including immediate building closures and the implementation of virtual instruction. In March of 2020, Michigan faced a statewide shutdown on all non-essential travel as Michiganders were ordered to “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” Head Start began to provide remote services to families and students. Head Start lead teachers were charged with using virtual methods to teach their students. With little direction in the beginning and many unknowns, Head Start lead teachers used innovative methods to promote family engagement.

This study used a mixed method, explanatory sequential design to evaluate the most effective methods of instruction through the perspective of Head Start lead teachers. Using a survey (N = 186) and interviews (N = 6), barriers such as technology, internet access, and concerns over health and safety were discovered. Facilitators of service included communication, professional development opportunities, focusing on the social emotional needs of teachers and families, and overall support from the Michigan Head Start Association and National Head Start Association. In the period of March 2020 to June 2020, Head Start has shown a great amount of growth and support.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access