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