WWC review of this study

Curiosity Corner: Enhancing preschoolers’ language abilities through comprehensive reform.

Chambers, B., Chamberlain, A., Hurley, E. A., & Slavin, R. E. (2001). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA, April 2001. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED457999

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    168
     Students
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: January 2009

Cognition outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Visual Receptive Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4-year olds;
146 students

45.49

45.61

No

--
More Outcomes

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Visual Receptive Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

3-year olds;
165 students

42.32

42.66

No

--
Oral language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Expressive Language Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

3-year olds;
167 students

39.26

37.54

No

 
 
14
More Outcomes

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Expressive Language Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4-year olds;
146 students

43.58

43.29

No

--

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Receptive Language Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

3-year olds;
168 students

37.76

37.52

No

--

Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL): Receptive Language Scale

Curiosity Corner vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4-year olds;
147 students

43.1

42.58

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%
  • Race
    Black
    68%
    White
    16%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    11%
    Not Hispanic
    89%

  • Urban

Setting

The study took place in 16 preschools (a mix of public and private) in four high-poverty, urban school districts in New Jersey. All of the preschools were in Abbott districts and working to meet Abbott guidelines.

Study sample

The study began with 448 low-income preschool children who ranged in age from two years, seven months to four years, eleven months. At posttest, 316 children were included in the study, with analysis samples ranging from 311 to 315. The three-year-olds were from private early childhood centers (n = 169), and the four-year-olds were from public preschools (n = 147). In the final sample, 68% of the children were African-American, 16% Caucasian, and 11% Hispanic; 49% were female. Eight preschools (public and private) were assigned to the Curiosity Corner intervention group, and eight preschools (public and private) matched on demographic characteristics were used as the comparison group.

Intervention Group

The intervention group children participated in Curiosity Corner during the pilot year of the curriculum. Curiosity Corner was designed with 38 weekly thematic units. Additional information on duration, frequency, and intensity of implementation was not reported.

Comparison Group

The comparison group children participated in the regular early childhood curriculum at their preschool centers.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domains were children’s oral language and cognition. The study used three subtests of a standardized test (the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, American Guidance Services Edition): expressive language, receptive language, and visual reception. The study also used the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) to evaluate classroom quality, but the measure is not included in this WWC review because it is not relevant to the topic review. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1 and 2.4.

Support for implementation

The program provided teachers with detailed lesson instructions in the teacher’s manual and materials for instructional activities. Teachers, teaching assistants, and administrators were trained in two-day initial training sessions, followed by six in-class visits by a Success for All Foundation (SFA) trainer. In addition, teachers were observed, mentored, and supported by Curiosity Corner coaches from the school districts, who were trained by SFA staff over a two-year period. Coaches also offered workshops to help teachers implement the curriculum.

 

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