In a paper just published in Pediatrics reporting on a five-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 1,050 pre-kindergarten minority students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City, Dr. Laurie Miller Brotman and her team found that ParentCorps led to better achievement test scores at the end of kindergarten. ParentCorps includes a series of group sessions for parents and children held at the school during early evening hours, and professional development for early childhood educators. The family-focused, school-based program helps schools engage families early in children’s education, and helps parents and educators use scientifically proven strategies such as routines, clear rules, reinforcement of positive behavior and effective consequences for misbehavior, to help children succeed. The approach is collaborative and non-prescriptive to support parents in trying the strategies that fit with their cultural values and everyday realities.
This study is the second RCT demonstrating the positive impact of ParentCorps on children’s health and development. It included children enrolled in pre-kindergarten in ten public elementary schools in two large New York City school districts with historically low high school graduation rates. Schools were randomized to receive ParentCorps or pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education-as-usual. This study reports on achievement at the end of kindergarten.
“All parents want their children to succeed. ParentCorps was designed to be relevant for culturally diverse families and is offered at a critical transition period when parents are especially motivated to make positive changes,” said lead researcher Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD, Prevention Science Professor and Director of the Institute for Prevention Science at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Implementing ParentCorps as part of universal pre-k in public elementary schools means that all parents have access to the latest evidence on how to help children achieve success at school. Our hope is that bringing together parents in the school community creates a ‘parentcorps’ – a group of parents who learn from and support each other to raise healthy and successful children.”
Dr. Brotman and her team are working with local and state leaders to bring ParentCorps to hundreds of elementary schools with pre-kindergarten programs serving children from disadvantaged communities. Dr. Brotman was recently invited to present on this important work at the Grad Nation Summit in Washington, DC .
Co-authors of the study at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone include Spring Dawson-McClure, PhD, Esther J. Calzada, PhD, Keng-Yen Huang, PhD, Demy Kamboukos, PhD, Joseph J. Palamar, PhD and Eva Petkova, PhD.
Study funding was provided by the U.S Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences grant R305F050245 and by the National Institutes of Health grant R01 MH077331.