Parents’ engagement in infancy and toddlerhood can predict their children’s academic skills in 5th grade, concludes a new study in the journal Applied Developmental Science.
Researchers from New York University studied more than 2,200 families enrolled in the Early Head Start Research Evaluation Project. All the children in the study came from low-income, ethnically diverse families. Researchers conducted five in-home observations and tested the larger pool of children in pre-K and 5th grade for such skills as vocabulary and problem solving.
The researchers found children whose parents engaged them in meaningful conversations and provided them with books and toys designed to increase learning were much more likely to develop early cognitive skills that led to later academic success. Children with the lowest-academically enriched home environments during infancy and toddlerhood averaged 10 books in the home by 5th grade, while the children with the highest-quality home environments averaged more than 100. Those findings were true across all ethnic and racial groups studied.
A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as Parent Involvement