Oct 10, 2013


Born to Learn aims to impact early brain development and improve outcomes for children in a range of areas, including cognitive and language development, attachment security, mastery motivation, academic readiness skills and social competence. One evaluation found that Born to Learn had significant impacts on mastery motivation for all children, cognitive development for low-income children, but on no other child outcomes.


Target population: Birth to three-year-old infants

Born to Learn (BTL) is an early intervention curriculum for parents to use during a child’s first three years of life. The program is designed to stimulate early brain development to improve cognitive development, language development, attachment security, mastery motivation, persistence and problem solving, academic readiness skills, and social competence in the children. BTL is based on theories that emphasize interactions and relationships for early brain development by teaching parents how to enhance the amount and quality of their interactions with their infants. A trained parent educator advises the parents during monthly home visits, providing handouts and videos on key child development principles. In addition to the home visits, parents also attended group meetings to learn more about the BTL curriculum. Yearly costs of this program are estimated to be $1,472 per family.


Evaluated Population: In total, 527 families participated and were randomly assigned to either the Born to Learn curriculum or a comparison intervention.

Approach: Families of infants from birth to 9 months were recruited and given either the BTL curriculum or a comparable control curriculum. Child outcomes were assessed in a laboratory setting when the children were 12, 18, 24 and 36 months. The researchers used several scales to monitor and compare developmental differences between the experimental and control group. At each child assessment, the researchers were not aware of the child’s curriculum group assignment. There was a relatively high attrition rate over the three years of the study, resulting in loss to follow up of 117 participants (26%).

Results: At the 24-month child assessment, there was a significant impact on cognitive development for low-income families, but this result was not found at any other time of assessment. There were also differences between the experimental group and the control group in mastery motivation. Infants studied in the BTL condition scored higher at 24 and 36 months on task competence than their control group counterparts. The impacts on security of attachment, adaptive behavior, language, conceptual development, school readiness, and social skills were not significant.



Implementation Guide:


Drotar, D, J Robinson, L Jeavons, and H Lester Kirchner. “A randomized, controlled evaluation of early intervention: the Born to Learn curriculum.” Child: care, health and development. 35.5 (2008): 643-649. Web.


Infants (0-12 mos), Toddlers (12-36 mos), Males and Females (Co-ed), Multiracial, Suburban, Home-based, Cost  information available, Manual is available, Home visitation, Parent or family component, Child Care, Early Childhood Education

Program information updated on 10/10/13