Understanding how to provide children with an early foundation in school readiness skills is critical, as many states estimate that half of their students arrive at kindergarten already far behind where they need to be to have a good chance at succeeding at school. Acknowledging that children from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds consistently perform lower on academic readiness measures than children from higher SES backgrounds, the purpose of this project is to adapt research-based parent and teacher interventions, Play and Learning Strategies (PALS), Strategies for Early Education and Developmental Success (SEEDS), which is based on Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH), to examine the benefit to low-income infants’ and toddlers’ language, cognitive, and social-emotional development as well as self-regulation skills.
SEEDS is an online video-based course for infant/toddler teachers. Available in Spanish and English, SEEDS is comprised of 14 professional development courses. In addition to online courses that teachers complete independently, there is also a coach-facilitated option in which teachers meet with coaches weekly either face-to-face or in a video call, to review content and in-classroom practice.
ePALS is a preventive intervention program to strengthen the bond between parent and child and to stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development. Based on longitudinal observations, the program was developed to facilitate parents’ mastery of specific skills for interacting with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers that lead to better child outcomes, particularly in children from families with limited resources.
Parents independently complete online sessions and then meet weekly with trained parent coaches who review the learned strategies, observe interactions, and support practice using specific techniques. The online PALS sessions use videotaped examples of real mothers and children to demonstrate each concept and allow the parent to critique these examples before practicing the new skills with her own child. Guided practice opportunities recorded between each session help parents move from watching, listening and talking, to doing.
Available in Spanish and English, ePALS is comprised of 11 online sessions for parents of infants and 14 online sessions for parents of toddlers.