Program

Aug 11, 2014

OVERVIEW

The Head Start REDI intervention, which stands for Research-based, Developmentally Informed, is an enriched form of the traditional Head Start early childhood education program. Compared with a traditional Head Start program in an experimental evaluation, the REDI program has been found to have significant positive impacts at the end of the intervention on children’s language and emergent literacy skills, social and emotional understanding, teacher-reported aggression, and learning engagement at school and at home. Several of these impacts were sustained one year following the intervention, when children were assessed at the end of their kindergarten year, after accounting for differences in kindergarten contexts.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Children ages 3-5 who live in economically disadvantaged families

The Head Start REDI intervention, which stands for Research-based, Developmentally Informed, is an enriched version of the traditional Head Start early childhood education program. Head Start REDI is a classroom-based preschool program that targets three- to five-year-old children from socioeconomically disadvantaged households. The program provides teachers with mentoring and a manualized curriculum consisting of brief lessons, activities, and instructional strategies sequenced intentionally to target social-emotional and cognitive development. Specifically, Head Start REDI is designed to achieve positive outcomes in children pertaining to prosocial behavior, emotional understanding, self-regulation, aggression control, and language and emergent literacy skills.

Throughout the school year and across classroom activities, teachers in the REDI program provide warm support and nonpunitive classroom management, integrating systematic instructional practices in a variety of domains, including social-emotional learning, emotion coaching, interactive book reading, sequenced learning activities on phonological awareness, and explicit instruction in alphabetic principles. The social-emotional learning component of REDI is the PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) curriculum. The PATHS curriculum is available for purchase from Channing Bete Company, with prices ranging from $399 to $799 per classroom module. REDI’s language and emergent literacy activities are also based on published classroom curricula. In addition to the instructional strategies, the Head Start REDI program also includes training and professional development to support teachers, as well as materials for parents to take home to support what is offered in the classroom.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Bierman, K. M., Domitrovich, C. E., Nix, R. L., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., Greenberg, M. T., Blair, C., Nelson, K. E., & Gill, S. (2008).  Promoting academic and social-emotional school readiness: The Head Start REDI program. Child Development, 79(6), 1802-1817.

Evaluated population: Participants were356 four-year-old children from 44 Head Start classrooms in three counties in Pennsylvania. The sample was 25 percent African-American, 17 percent Hispanic, and 54 percent female.

Approach:  Classrooms were randomly assigned to either the Head Start REDI program (N=22) or the “usual Head Start practice” control condition (N=22). Children in the control classrooms received the regular Head Start curriculum. There were no significant differences on children’s outcomes measures between groups at baseline.

To assess the effectiveness of the program, data were collected on vocabulary, syntax, phonological awareness, print knowledge, emotional understanding, social problem solving, socially competent behaviors, learning engagement, and aggression.  Data were collected at baseline (at the beginning of the school year in September/October), and at post-test (in March/April).

Results: In the spring of the school year, children participating in Head Start REDI classrooms were found to have significantly better outcomes, compared with the control group, in several domains, including vocabulary (effect size = .15), emergent literacy skills (effect sizes ranging from .35 to .39, depending on measure), social-emotional awareness and responses (effect sizes ranging from .21 to .35, depending on measure), teacher-reported aggression (effect size = -.28), learning engagement at school (effect size = .29), and learning engagement at home (effect size = .25).

Bierman, K. M., Nix, R. L., Heinrichs, B. S., Domitrovich, C. E., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., & Gill, S. (2008).  Effects of Head Start REDI on children’s outcomes 1 year later in different kindergarten contexts. Child Development, 85(1), 140-159.

Evaluated population: The same356 four-year-old children studied in the earlier evaluation were followed up one year later. Participants had transitioned to 202 different kindergarten classrooms in 82 schools in 33 school districts, all in Pennsylvania. Their 202 kindergarten classrooms were assessed on quality of teacher-child interactions, emphasis on reading instruction, and school-level student achievement.

Approach: The four-year-old children who had been randomly assigned to either Head Start REDI classrooms or “usual practice” Head Start classrooms were assessed on learning and behavioral outcomes after transitioning into kindergarten.

The follow-up child assessments took place in March and April of the kindergarten year and assessed quality of teacher-child interactions, emphasis on reading instruction, school-level student achievement, language and emergent literacy skills, social competence, aggressive/disruptive behaviors and learning engagement.

Results: No significant group differences were found on teacher-child interaction quality, emphasis on reading instruction, or school-level student achievement. Compared with the original control group, children who had been in Head Start REDI classrooms at age four were found to have significantly better outcomes toward the end of their kindergarten year (one year post-intervention) on one measure of emergent literacy skills (effect size = .25), learning behaviors (effect size = .28), competent problem solving (effect size = .40), teacher-rated aggression (effect size = -.26), and parent-rated aggression (effect size = -.22).

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Website: http://www.channing-bete.com/prevention-programs/paths/paths.html

References

Bierman, K. M., Domitrovich, C. E., Nix, R. L., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., Greenberg, M. T., Blair, C., Nelson, K. E., & Gill, S. (2008).  Promoting academic and social-emotional school readiness: The Head Start REDI program. Child Development, 79(6), 1802-1817.

Bierman, K. M., Nix, R. L., Heinrichs, B. S., Domitrovich, C. E., Gest, S. D., Welsh, J. A., & Gill, S. (2008).  Effects of Head Start REDI on children’s outcomes 1 year later in different kindergarten contexts. Child Development.

KEYWORDS: Children, Preschool, Males and Females, School-based, Cost, Manual, Early Childhood Education, Reading/Literacy, Social Skills, Aggression.

Program information last updated 8/11/14