Culture is rarely recognized in studies o~ Head Start and early childhood education. This study attempts to document the role of culture in an urban Head Start classroom from an ethnographic perspective. The historical basis of Head Start is explored, as well as current literature evaluating Head Start, Black culture, urban effects, and childhood poverty. The existence of an urban underclass is discussed from a theoretical standpoint, and the basis of poverty is explored for the sample children. The values and skills that are a product of children's experiences are discussed, as well as resistance as a fundamental component of Black culture. I describe the nature of the neighborhoods in which this study was undertaken. The values held in the classroom by both children and teachers are presented in terms of their relevance to the major tenets of Black culture and perspectives on cultural capital. These elements include self-assertion, respect for authority, respect for individuals, and an extended kin network. Finally, I conclude with suggestions for future researched the relationship of this study to public school ideology.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Urban Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

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© Copyright 1998 Megan H. Schatz