This study was conducted with students, educators, and parents across 94 publicly funded preschool classrooms in school systems or Head Start agencies in a Midwestern state.
A total of 136 pre-school children were included in the study. The 136 children were taught by 97 teachers. To be eligible for the study, children had to be eligible for two years of early childhood education (ECE) at the time they entered the clusters to enable them to participate in the full two years of the intervention, meet criteria related to family income, special education status, and family receipt of public assistance, complete the DIAL-4 screening, and score 90 or below in the cognition, language, and/or social skills portions of the screening measure. Fifty-six percent of children were male and one-third of students had an individualized education program, which indicates that they have a disability. Seventy-one percent of children were White, 4% were Black, 2% were Native American, less than 1% were Asian, and 23% were two or more races or did not report race. Thirty percent of the children identified as Latino or Hispanic. The majority of parents (78%) received public assistance over the last 12 months. The researchers randomly assigned 48 teachers to the intervention group and 49 teachers to the comparison group.
Getting Ready is a parent engagement intervention that aims to promote school readiness for children from birth to age 5. The intervention focuses on strengthening relationships between homes and schools by utilizing a set of strategies educators can use to support parent’s participation in their child’s early learning. The strategies can be used in unstructured interactions, such as child drop-off or pick-up, or notes sent home, and during structured interactions such as home visits or parent-teach conferences. For this study, there were 6 structured interactions per school year (12 total across the 2-year study) with at least one parent, the ECE, and the child. On average, families participated in 13 structured contacts with educators during the 2-year study.
Parents and children in the comparison condition received business-as-usual preschool services, which involves four parent–ECE contacts per school year (two 60-min home visits and two parent–ECE conferences). In addition, to help provide equivalent time that ECEs spent with parents, two additional structured contacts were offered to each parent annually, for a total of 12 structured contacts over the 2-year study. On average across the 2-year study, educators and parents in the comparison group participated in 11 structured contacts.
Support for implementation
Educators in the intervention condition received a 1-day training at the beginning of their participation in the study. Additionally, twice a month for 2 years they received ongoing professional development through 90-minute individualized and group coaching.