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Effective interventions to strengthen early language and literacy skills in low-income countries: Comparison of a family-focused approach and a pre-primary programme in Ethiopia

Globally, governments as well as international and donor organizations are increasingly emphasizing the need for investment in effective early childhood programmes that can provide an equitable start for all children. Research is scant, however, on the effectiveness of different interventions supporting early language as well as broader school readiness skills in low-income countries. This paper aims to contribute to the literature by comparing the impact of two interventions with high potential for scale-up in Ethiopia: (1) a one-year pre-primary classroom-based model run by the government and (2) a family-based model that engages parents and caregivers in bolstering early language and overall school-readiness skills at home through simple games, in lieu of a standard centre-based programme. No significant differences were found between the gains made by children in the family-based program and the children in the standard pre-primary classes in terms of early literacy, early math, socio-emotional development as well as overall school readiness. (author abstract)
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