Date of Award

Summer 8-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Paul Naso


This narrative study explored the perspectives of six Francophone African-born family members who have pre-school aged children attending early childhood care and education settings in the Little Senegal section of Harlem in New York City. It examined the personal experiences they reported regarding their own early language and literacy development, their descriptions of home factors that mediated their children’s language and literacy acquisition, and their reports of the ways in which they experienced the efforts of educators within early childhood care and education settings. A qualitative narrative method framed the study. Purposeful sampling was utilized to identify research participants, and semi-structured interviews were employed. Presentations of individual narratives, as well as an inclusive thematic analysis, were the basis of the findings. The study found that oral traditions and multilingualism were prevalent in the lives of the Francophone African-born parents as children and continued to be valued in their lives as adults. The study also discovered the complex manner in which participants foster an environment in their homes for sustaining their heritage languages while simultaneously supporting English language development, but their narratives indicate a tension resulting from striving to satisfy both aims. Finally, this study found that the interchanges of participants with early childhood care and education setting educators were largely one-way and prescriptive and ignored the multicultural heritage and bi/multilingualism of families. The implications of this study suggest how a recognition of the complex nature of the identities, multinational migration patterns, and multilingual backgrounds of African-born immigrants potentially inform pedagogy, curricular decisions, policy, and scholarship.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Embargo Period





The author owns the copyright to this work.