Bethanie Van Horne, DrPH
Ursula Johnson, PhD
Janelle Montroy, PhD
The Administration for Children and Families
Description of Project:
Understanding how to provide children with an early foundation in school readiness skills is critical, as many states estimate that half of their students arrive at kindergarten already far behind where they need to be to have a good chance at succeeding in school. Children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds consistently perform significantly worse than children from higher SES backgrounds. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to adapt two research-based parent and teacher interventions, Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) or (ePALS) and Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH), for remote use within Early Head Start center-based care to examine the benefit to low-income infants’ and toddlers’ language, cognitive, and social-emotional development as well as self-regulation skills. The adaptation of the BEECH curriculum is called Strategies for Early Education and Developmental Success (SEEDS).
While the research evaluated outcomes when both SEEDS and PALS were implemented simultaneously in the home and Early Head Start center-based environments, child care centers and Early Head Start centers can choose to implement one component (SEEDS or PALS) or both depending on the needs of their teachers and families. This program was developed at the Children’s Learning Institute/UTHealth Houston.
Over the 3-year study period, 18 sites, 59 classrooms, 104 teachers, and 293 families from 6 Early Head Start agencies across the greater Houston area agreed to participate in the study. All teachers were female. The most common race/ethnicity for teachers was African American (44.9%), followed by Hispanic/Latina (37.8%). The majority of teachers had either some college (36.7%) or an Associate degree (31.7%), and 58.2% were monolingual English speakers. The majority of parents who participated were mothers. Their children were on average 2.38 years old and identified as Hispanic (66.7%), African American (21.4%), or multi-racial (10.7%).
Early Head Start Agencies in the Greater Houston Area