Education Report Roundup

Parents’ Aid at Home Benefits Preschoolers

By Debra Viadero — January 19, 2005 1 min read

Not all types of parent involvement are equal when it comes to helping preschool children learn, a recent study concludes.

“Multiple Dimensions of Family Involvement and Their Relationships to Behavioral and Learning Competencies for Urban Low Income Children” is published in School Psychology Review and is not available online.

In the study, published this month in School Psychology Review, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found that parent involvement that takes place in the home is associated with better outcomes in children than school-based involvement efforts. The researchers base their findings on a six-month study of 144 urban preschoolers from a Northeastern city who were enrolled in the federal Head Start program for disadvantaged children.

The researchers found that children whose parents provided them with learning space at home, asked them about the school day, read to them, or showed interest in their learning in other ways tended to have bigger vocabularies, longer attention spans, fewer behavior problems, and more motivation to learn than children whose families scored lower on the home-involvement scale. In comparison, children whose parents spent more time than average working in their children’s classroom or chaperoning field trips scored high on just one dimension of preschool learning: classroom behavior.

A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2005 edition of Education Week