Years ago, we used to hold preschool teachers responsible for preparing children for school. Today, we realize that early learning begins at home with babies and their families. Yet, many families of young children need information and support to nurture their children's learning and to navigate the early years of their children's development. The most effective early childhood programs are built around a commitment to family-staff partnerships that focus on both the child and the parent. With the proliferation of Birth to 5 programs, collaborative teams of families and practitioners typically partner to ensure that children are ready for school. A specialized team that includes therapists and/or infant/family mental health specialists is often needed for children at high risk for developmental delays or with disabilities who may need extra support.Read More
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
Tags: Parenting Assessment, parent-child relationship, school readiness, early intervention, engagement-parent, family, community, family support-partnership-services, Getting Ready model, children with disabilities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) just released an exciting research review. Decades of research prove that children begin learning from the first day of their lives. Thus, parents are the prime drivers of early development, which lays the foundation for lifelong learning. As we’ve argued in previous blogs (1, 2, 3, 4), it stands to reason that supporting parents to nurture their children’s early experiences will enhance children’s readiness for school and social skills, decrease children’s behavior problems, and strengthen academic success. A new research report from RWJ asks “What Works” under the umbrella of parent engagement. As you can see from the report title,Parent Engagement Practices Improve Outcomes for Preschool Children, it focuses on the ultimate goal of improving children’s outcomes.Read More
I started my career doing nutrition research in the laboratory of Dr. Lucille Hurley, who was famous for her work on the impact of nutritional deficiencies on development. While working with her I came to not only know the literature on how nutrient deficiencies can impair development, but saw the dramatic impact with my own eyes. Thus, the overwhelming literature showing that breastfeeding results in improved cognitive development came as no surprise. Yet, I have to admit to being surprised again by the power of parenting. A recent report concludes that the well-documented impact of breastfeeding on cognitive development is actually a proxy for parenting.
I just read a very exciting research paper, so excuse me if I gush some about the work of Helen Neville and colleagues from the University of Oregon. In their paper, Family-based training program improves brain function, cognition, and behavior in lower socioeconomic status preschoolers, (July 1, 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), they report results that have profound implications for closing the achievement gap of young children from low income families.