Could not download file: This paper is available to authorised users only.


H. Duch

Colulmbia University (UNITED STATES)
School readiness, or the development of the cognitive, social, and emotional skills necessary for children to enter school ready to learn, creates the foundation for academic success, physical and mental health, and general well-being (Task Force on Community Preventive Services, 2010). Unfortunately, socioeconomic disadvantage tends to lead to large gaps in the development of both the cognitive ( Noble, McCandliss, & Farah, 2007) and socio-emotional skills ( Brooks-Gunn, & McLanahan, 2005) underlying school readiness.

Quality preschool programs can ameliorate the school readiness gap to some extent (Anderson et al., 2003; Magnuson & Waldfogel, 2005), though individual interventions tend to have small effect sizes (Borman, Hewes, Overman, & Brown, 2003) and do not fully close the achievement gap. Critically, parents and teachers independently influence school readiness (Andersson, Sommerfelt, Sonnander, & Ahlsten, 1996) and programs targeting both parents and teachers have increased potential to affect outcomes (Barnett, 2002; Brooks-Gunn & Markman, 2005; Ramey, Ramey, Lanzi, & Cotton, 2002). Yet few programs support the home and preschool environments with equal emphasis.

Getting Ready for School is a curriculum for pre-Kindergarten children that jointly targets both parents and teachers to best prepare children for subsequent school entry. This paper will present the technology innovations used to improve parent engagement with the intervention.

For the past 3 years, Getting Ready for School (GRS) has been implemented in over 20 preschool classrooms in New York City. While the GRS intervention has been well received by participating parents, school administrators, and teachers, maintaining parent engagement throughout the intervention has required adaptations. We developed several innovations to best reach and sustain the most number of parents.
1) To reach all parents, and particularly those who are unable to attend parent workshops, we have incorporated the use of tablets and a program website. The tablets and website have a collection of videos demonstrating how to implement curriculum activities at home. These materials are available in both Spanish and English, and were designed with special attention to culturally diverse and low-literacy parents. Parents can check out tablets and bring them home to facilitate access to the materials for parents who do not have technology access at home.
2) We have re-designed our parent workshops to meet in a shorter format while still targeting the necessary skills to fruitfully use the GRS home materials. We have incorporated media and technology use in workshops to encourage parents to access classroom tablets.

The development of GRS consisted of an iterative process in which we collected feedback from parents and teachers and made necessary revisions to the intervention. We subsequently assessed the feasibility and fidelity of implementation of GRS in homes and schools.. Data obtained from both parents and teachers provide evidence for high feasibility of the curriculum (lessons used at the intended dosage and rated as clear to implement), as well as high fidelity of implementation (adherence to lesson plans; teacher, parent and student engagement). We will present data on the development, feasibility, fidelity of implementation and preliminary outcomes of integrating technology to increase parent engagement with GRS.