A study published in JAMA Pediatrics examines the sustained effects of a preschool home visiting program on child outcomes in third grade. Karen L. Bierman and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of the Research-Based and Developmentally Informed Parent home visiting program (REDI-P) on 200 families with preschool children recruited from 24 Head Start centers in Pennsylvania.
Families were assigned to either receive the REDI-P intervention or be sent math learning games in the mail (control group). The intervention focused on improving academic performance and social-emotional adjustment, and reducing children’s problems at home. Families received 10 visits from home visitors during preschool and six follow-up visits in kindergarten. Parents received coaching to enhance parent-child relationships and home learning materials to support children’s development and school readiness.
Overall, REDI-P produced sustained benefits four years after the intervention, with children in the REDI-P intervention group needing and using fewer school services than children in the control group. Results showed:
- There were improvements in academic performance in third grade, measured by direct assessments of child sight-word reading fluency (effect size = +0.28) and teacher-rated academic performance in third grade (effect size= +0.29).
- The intervention also promoted sustained improvements in children’s social-emotional adjustment, reflected in direct assessments of social understanding (effect size = +0.31).
- REDI-P also produced reductions in the home problems that parents reported (effect size= −0.28).
The authors suggested that the sustained effects indicated that similar preschool home visiting program might leverage upward socioeconomic mobility and promote improved health and well-being in later years.
Source: Bierman, K. L., Welsh, J., Heinrichs, B. S., & Nix, R. L. (2018). Effect of preschool home visiting on school readiness and need for services in elementary school: A randomized clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(8), e181029.