Effects of a preschool parent enrichment programme on children and their parents /
Battye, Rosamund C.
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This study evaluated a preschool parent enrichment programme to assess if child and parent involvement in the programme facilitated the children's subsequent school adjustment. Also examined were the programme's effects on parent-child relationships. Participants were 56 Junior-Senior Kindergarten and Grade One students from one elementary school. Parent participants were 12 parents from the preschool parent enrichment programme, 6 parents whose children had attended other preschool programmes, and 6 parents whose children had remained at home prior to school. Five elementary teachers and both nursery school teachers from the parent enrichment programme also participated. Measures used included the Florida Key to assess children's inferred self-concept as learner and four subscales (relating, asserting, coping and investing), and interviews to assess parent and teacher perceptions. Findings indicated that there was little difference between parent and teacher perceptions about children who had attended a preschool programme. Both groups showed improved social, emotional, and behavioural skill development, together with increased self-esteem, and the ability to cope with separation from their parents. This enabled children to make the transition from preschool to primary school more successful. Children from the parent enrichment programme were not readily identifiable in terms of the profile promulgated for disadvantaged children. The Florida Key showed a main effect for the coping subscale, indicating that children from the parent enrichment programme may show more confidence in their abilities, and seek assistance from teachers than children who had no preschool experience. The parent enrichment programme appeared to have the biggest impact on the parents. Parents reported improved relationships with their children, increased confidence and self-esteem, as well as improved parenting and general life skills. The implications for short-term gains for children from this type of programme are better readiness for school, more positive self-esteem, improved social behaviour, and a higher achievement motivation. The long-term gains for children are predicted to be fewer special education placements, less grade retention, and a lower dropout rate from school. The short-term gains for parents are better social support networks," greater self-confidence, better interactions with children, and improved parenting skills. The long-term benefits may be an increased motivation to continue education, gain employment, and less family breakdown and abuse.