Program

Aug 12, 2013

OVERVIEW

This
parent education program aimed to train mothers with low education and
socioeconomic levels techniques to support the cognitive and language
development of their preschool-age children. Mothers were taught to use
inexpensive household materials to create learning toys to demonstrate reading
and math concepts to their children. The program was found to improve children’s
intellectual functioning and language skills.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
Population:
Low-income mothers and their preschool-age children

The
training program consisted of 11 two-hour sessions, which were held once a week
and led by three experienced preschool teachers. The children received 12 weeks
of activities through their mothers. Teachers were responsible for working with
five mothers, and the mothers received hourly compensation for each session they
attended (representing an amount that was higher than the hourly wage that the
mothers might be expected to e at the time the program was implemented). The
teachers instruct the mothers on how to make inexpensive educational aids and
teach the mothers songs and finger plays. The mothers are encouraged to use
these learning aids to support their children’s learning and development at
home. During an informal coffee-break time, mothers and teachers talk among one
another about how the children are doing and teachers often give advice on how
to tweak any of the materials or activities for a particular child.

EVALUATIONS OF PROGRAM

Karnes, M.
B., Studley, W. M., Wright, W. R., & Hodgins, A. S. (1968). An approach for
working with mothers of disadvantaged preschool children
.

Evaluated
Population:

Thirty
children ages three to four years were evaluated. Only preschool-age children
who were not attending preschool programs were selected for the study. The
children were all from a low-income neighborhood. Mothers of preschool-aged
children with low education and socioeconomic levels were identified for the
study through a principal in the community. The children in the study were
black.

Approach:
Thirty
children were matched on IQ and sex and were then randomly assigned to the
experimental group (N=13) or control group (N=13) group within matched pairs.
While there were initially 15 matched pairs, only 13 groups remained eligible or
available to participate in the study throughout the three-month study period.

Mothers of
children in the experimental group were eligible to receive a training
intervention and were taught by preschool teachers how to develop and use tools
to support their children’s learning at home. Parents of children in the
control group did not have access to the training intervention.

The study
compared changes in the pre-test and post-test scores on intellectual
functioning and language development for children in the experimental and
control groups. Intellectual functioning, including “mental age” and “IQ”, was
measured using the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales. “Mental age” measures
the gain in intellectual functioning that should occur based on chronological
age. Linguistic functioning was measured by a set of subtests and the total
score on the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA). :

Results:
From
pretest to posttest, children in the experimental group experienced higher gains
in intellectual functioning (as indicated through both their “mental age” score
and IQ score) and in linguistic functioning (as indicated through their ITPA
subtest scores on visual decoding, auditory-vocal association, and
auditory-vocal sequential), as compared to children in the control group. Both
groups showed improvements in all areas over the three month study period, but
the gains of the experimental group were significantly greater than those of the
control group in these areas. No significant differences were found on the
following subtests, which are measures of linguistic skills: auditory decoding,
visual-motor association, motor encoding, auditory-vocal automatic, or
visual-motor sequential score. There were marginal impacts on the vocal
encoding and total language score. Long-term effects of the program are unknown.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Karnes, M.
B., Studley, W. M., Wright, W. R., & Hodgins, A. S. (1968). An approach for
working with mothers of disadvantaged preschool children
. Report prepared
for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Office of Education.
Urbana, IL: Institute for Research on Exceptional Children, College of
Education, University of Illinois.

KEYWORDS: Children(3-11), Preschool, School-Based, Black/African American, Early Childhood
Education, Community-Based, Parent Training/Education, Parent or Family
Component, Skills Training, Other Education, Reading/Literacy, Mathematics.