Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Rachel Schiffman

Committee Members

Karen Morin, Jennifer Doering, Holly Brophy-Herb, Joshua Mersky


Early Childhood, Infant Mental Health, Mexican-american Families, Parenting, Social-Emotional Development, Social-Emotional Parenting


Early social-emotional development is influenced by the experiences of the child especially the parent-child interaction and relationship. Influences on the parent’s ability to provide nurturing enriched parenting experiences include the parent’s past encounters with how they were parented. The Building Early Emotional Skills curriculum (BEES) has a component of self-awareness exercises that assist parents to understand personal parenting behaviors and attitudes. The BEES framework is an infant mental health model with a specific focus on early social emotional development. Curricula related specifically to early child social-emotional development based on an infant mental health model is limited in the literature. However, early childhood is an opportunity to promote parent-child relationships in high risk families that support social-emotional development. The United States has a growing population of families that include Mexican migrants, many of whom live in poverty with low levels of health care and education. These high-risk conditions place Mexican migrant families in a vulnerable position for poor health and development outcomes. Programs that address school readiness are prevalent in the literature but few have been adapted or created to address the parenting needs of the Mexican migrant culture to promote early childhood social-emotional development. The purpose of the research was to determine the feasibility of adapting and implementing the Building Early Emotional Skills curriculum (BEES) with Mexican migrant families that include children from 3 to 30 months. The Bioecological Model (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006) guided this study. The research took place in an Early Head Start program in the midwestern United States with a service delivery of home visitation. The sample consisted of Early Head Start home visitors and the Early Head Start supervisors who were bilingual Spanish and English speaking with a primary language of Spanish. The mothers in the study migrated to the United States from Mexico after the age of 18 years. The mothers’ primary language was a dialect of Mexican Spanish. Data were collected through a parent questionnaire, adaptation and implementation focus groups with home visitors, and implementation logs completed by the home visitor. The curriculum activities were translated to the formal Mexican dialect of Spanish. The language presented a challenge due to the various dialects and slang terms used by the participants. Two areas of time constraints were identified, the limited time the home visitors had for their visits and the time required to fulfill the cultural role of the mother. The lessons/activities resulted in an implication for further adaptation that includes the cultural contexts of familismo, respeto, simpatico, and personalismo. The feasibility results were positive indicating implication for a pilot study.

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Nursing Commons