School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Single Parents, Rural, Elementary School, Education
Education | Educational Leadership
Cotman, Jenine LaVonne, "A Phenomenological Study Examining the Experiences of Single Parents who are Rearing Elementary-Aged Children Enrolled in a Public School in a Rural Community" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3458.
Abstract The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to examine the experiences of single parents who are rearing elementary-aged children enrolled in a public school in a rural community. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development was used to guide this study. Vygotsky’s theory focuses on cognitive development being fundamentally framed by social interaction. Vygotsky also believed that cognitive development is strengthened when a child is encouraged to learn within their zone of proximal development, which refers to a person’s current cognitive space that can be further developed with social interaction and help from a teacher, peer, or parent. The central research question asked, “What are the experiences of single parents who are rearing elementary-aged children enrolled in a public school in a rural community?” A purposeful sample of a combination of 11 teachers and single parents of elementary-aged children from a small rural public school in the United States was selected as participants. Data collection included interviews, separate focus groups for teachers and parents, and participant journals. I utilized Moustakas’ methods to analyze this study. The findings show that single parents in August County have high academic expectations for their children, despite the challenges of living in a rural community that includes a lack of internet, a deficit in school funding, and transportation. The single parent participants in this study all reported that their children benefitted greatly from family and teacher support. Keywords: single parent, non-nuclear family, student, education, family structure