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IES Grant

Title: Efficacy of the Getting Ready Intervention at Supporting Parental Engagement and Positive Outcomes for Preschool Children at Educational Risk
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Sheridan, Susan Awardee: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2012–6/30/2016 Award Amount: $3,212,919
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A120153

Co-Principal Investigators: Lisa Knoche and Carolyn Edwards

Purpose: Despite the efforts of early intervention programs to bolster school readiness, some children arrive in kindergarten demonstrating early cognitive, language, or socio-emotional delays that hinder their progress in school. In addition, despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits of planned coordination between home and school, this coordination occurs all too rarely for individual children. This reality, coupled with the unequivocal finding that early relationships matter in a child's developmental trajectory, point to the importance of intervening with at-risk children and families in ways that support learning. The intervention to be tested in this study, Getting Ready, is designed to improve learning experiences and opportunities for cognitively, linguistically, or socio-emotionally delayed preschool children by strengthening relationships, creating partnerships, and promoting continuity in educational experiences across home and school.

Project Activities: Researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial, with random assignment of 75 preschool classrooms to the Getting Ready intervention or control condition. Three hundred children from these classrooms will be included in the study. Implementation of the Getting Ready intervention will involve two components aimed at (1) building, reinforcing, and maintaining cognitive, language, and socio-emotional skills in children at educational risk; and (2) creating continuities and strengthening relationships within (parent-child; teacher-child) and between (family-school) settings. Outcome data to assess child cognitive, language, and socio-emotional skills; parent engagement; and parent-teacher relationships will be collected at the beginning and end of preschool, and at the beginning and end of kindergarten.

Products: This study will result in evidence on the following: (1) the efficacy of the Getting Ready intervention to enhance cognitive, language, and socio-emotional functioning for children identified early as demonstrating risk; (2) the impact of the intervention on parent engagement and parent-teacher relationships; (3) whether changes in parent engagement and parent-teacher relationships mediate the effects of the intervention on child outcomes; and (4) whether there are long-term effects of the intervention for children demonstrating early risk as they transition to kindergarten. The results will be reported in conference presentations and published articles.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will be conducted in preschool classrooms in rural and suburban Nebraska.

Sample: Three hundred preschool-aged children screened for delays in cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional domains will be included in this study.

Intervention: The Getting Ready intervention has two components: (1) triadic collaborative planning, which uses strategies aimed to mutually support parent-child and family-school relationships (e.g., home visit sessions where teachers and parents brainstorm collaboratively around problems or issues related to children's social, motor, cognitive, or communicative development and learning); and (2) conjoint behavioral consultation, which involves trained consultants assisting teachers and parents to engage in structured problem solving and intervention planning for all students in the treatment group. The primary mechanism for the delivery of triadic collaborative planning strategies will be in the context of five home visits per year that are part of the typical preschool programs in each of the study sites. Conjoint behavioral consultation will be implemented in the context of programs' regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences, held twice per year (Fall and Spring), and extend and support the work taking place during home visits. The classroom teacher will be the primary link with families, but early childhood special education service providers will be included in collaborative planning processes to ensure consistency and coordination with children's Individualized Education Program or Individualized Family Service Plan.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial, with random assignment of two cohorts of preschool classrooms to the Getting Ready intervention or business-as-usual control group. A total of 75 classrooms and 300 children will participate in the study. All participating children and families will be assessed at the beginning and end of each year of preschool and at the beginning and end of kindergarten. The efficacy of the intervention, relative to the control condition, will be evaluated first in the Spring of each child's second year of preschool by estimating a growth curve using the four assessment periods from baseline through the Spring of preschool. The lasting impact of the intervention will be evaluated at the end of kindergarten for all students via growth curve modeling considering all six (Fall and Spring during each of 2 preschool years; Fall and Spring of kindergarten) assessment points.

Control Condition: Classroom teachers in the comparison condition will implement all programmatic elements, but not receive any training or support in implementing the Getting Ready strategies involved in triadic collaborative planning or conjoint behavioral consultation. Families in the comparison group will receive the same number of contacts from teachers as those in the experimental condition. Similarly, the number of parent-teacher conferences and informal exchanges will be consistent across treatment and comparison groups.

Key Measures: Key measures will include direct child assessments of cognitive and language skills; measures of social-emotional skills (parent and teacher reports, observation); measures of parent engagement (parent report, observation); parent and teacher reports of the parent-teacher relationships; and teacher reports of the student-teacher relationships. Fidelity will be measured to determine the degree to which all elements of the Getting Ready intervention are delivered.

Data Analytic Strategy: A longitudinal multilevel model with repeated measures and multilevel data structure will be used to address aims associated with intervention outcomes for children and parents. To test whether changes in parent engagement and parent-teacher relationships mediate the effects of the intervention on child outcomes, the researchers will use multilevel structural equation modeling that provides multiple simultaneous direct and indirect paths while modeling growth.

Project Website:

Project Video:

Products and Publications

Book chapter

Knoche, L. L., & Sheridan, S. M. (in press). How do we engage families in multi-tiered systems of support? Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) for young children: A guide to RtI in early childhood.

Knoche, L.L. (2013). Implementation of Getting Ready: A Relationship-Focused Intervention to Support Parent Engagement, Birth to 5. Applying Implementation Science in Early Childhood Programs and Systems (pp. 117–138). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Knoche, L.L., and Witte, A.L. (2016). Strengths-Based Educational Interventions in Rural Settings: Promoting Child Development Through Home–School Partnerships. In L. Crockett, and G. Carlo (Eds.), Rural Ethnic Minority Youth and Families in the United States: Theory, Research, and Applications (pp. 227–246). New York: Springer.

Knoche, L.L., Cline, K.D., and Marvin, C.M. (2012). Fostering Collaborative Partnerships Between Early Childhood Professionals and the Parents of Young Children. In R.C. Pianta, L. Justice, S. Barnett, and S.M. Sheridan (Eds.), Handbook of Early Education (pp. 370–392). New York: Guilford Press.

Sheridan, S. M., Holmes, S. R., Smith, T. E., & Moen, A. L. (2015). Complexities in field-based partnership research: Exemplars, challenges, and an agenda for the field. In S. M. Sheridan & E. M. Kim (Eds.), Research on family-school partnerships: An interdisciplinary examination of state of the science and critical needs, Vol 3(pp. 1–23). New York, NY: Springer.

Sheridan, S. M., Moen, A. L., & Knoche, L. L. Family-School Partnerships in Early Childhood. The Wiley Handbook of Early Childhood Development Programs, Practices, and Policies, 287–309.

Sheridan, S.M., Clarke, B.L., and Ihlo, T.B. (2012). Promoting Young Children's Mental Health Through Early Childhood Consultation: Ecological Advances and Research Needs. In R.C. Pianta, L.M. Justice, W.S. Barnett, and S.M. Sheridan (Eds.), The Handbook of Early Education (pp. 435–454). New York: Guilford Press.

Sheridan, S.M., Kunz, G.M., and Witte, A. (2014). Rural Parents and Teachers are Partners. In G.C. Nugent, G.M. Kunz, S.M. Sheridan, T.A. Glover, and L.L. Knoche (Eds.), Rural Education Research: State of the Science and Emerging Directions. New York: Springer.

Book chapter, edition specified

Sheridan, S. M., Moen, A., & Bhatia, S. (in press). Family-centered positive psychology: A framework for research-based practices.

Book, edition specified

Erchul, W.P., and Sheridan, S.M. (2014). Handbook of Research in School Consultation: Empirical Foundations for the Field. (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Knoche, L.L., Edwards, C.P., Sheridan, S.M., Kupzyk, K.A., Marvin, C.A., Cline, K.D., and Clarke, B.L. (2012). Getting Ready: Results of a Randomized Trial of a Relationship-Focused Intervention on Parent Engagement in Rural Early Head Start. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33(5): 439–458. doi:10.1002/imhj.21320

Knoche, L.L., Marvin, C.A., and Sheridan, S.M. (2015). Strategies to Support Parent Engagement During Home Visits in Early Head Start and Head Start. NHSA Dialog: The Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Education Field, 18(1): 19–42. Retrieved from

Kuhn, M., Marvin, C. A., & Knoche, L. L. (2017). In it for the long haul: Parent-teacher partnerships for addressing preschool children's challenging behaviors. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 37(2): 81–93.

Minke, K., Sheridan, S.M., Kim, E.M., Ryoo, J.H., and Koziol, N.A. (2014). Congruence in Parent-Teacher Relationships: The Role of Shared Perceptions. Elementary School Journal, 114(4): 527–546. doi:10.1086/675637

Schwehr, E., Bocanegra, J.O., Kwon, K., and Sheridan, S.M. (2014). Impact of Children's Identified Disability Status on Parent and Teacher Behavior Ratings. Contemporary School Psychology, 18(2): 133–142. doi:10.1007/s40688–014–0014–x

Sheridan, S.M., Knoche, L.L., Edwards, C.P., Kupzyk, K.A., Clarke, B.A., and Kim, E.M. (2014). Efficacy of the Getting Ready Intervention and the Role of Parental Depression. Early Education and Development, 25(5): 746–769. doi:10.1080/10409289.2014.862146