A study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly reports on a randomized controlled trial of an intervention designed to improve the quality of teaching in early childhood settings and increase children’s school readiness.
“Play and Learn” is a low-cost, 20-week, teacher-delivered early childhood program that targets skills for both teachers and children. For teachers, the intervention aims to improve their teaching and interactive skills. The aim of the intervention for children is to improve their language and math skills and increase school readiness.
The randomized controlled trial involved 1,116 children ages 18 to 36 months who were enrolled in 87 childcare centers in Denmark. Childcare centers were randomized to either an intervention or control group, with childcare centers in the intervention group implementing the Play and Learn program. Teachers implementing the program received training materials and tools to support their teaching and help them to be more explicit and intentional in their interactions with children to target language, math language, and numeracy skills.The results of the study showed that:
- The intervention had a positive short-term impact on children’s language and math skills relative to control-group children in all four areas examined: general vocabulary (ES = +0.27), language use (ES = +0.19), math language (ES = +0.80), and numeracy (ES = +0.55).
- However, children receiving the Play and Learn intervention did not improve skills relative to the control group on measures of social-emotional skills which included self-regulation, cooperation and empathy.
Source (Open Access): Bleses, D., Jensen, P., Slot, P., & Justice, L. (2020). Low-cost teacher-implemented intervention improves toddlers’ language and math skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 64-76.