The principal aim of the proposed research is to improve low-income preschool-aged children's school readiness by decreasing their risk for behavioral problems through a set of classroom-based interventions. The following study, entitled the Chicago School Readiness Project will determine whether emotionally- and behaviorally-focused interventions in preschool have a significant long-term impact an children's academic achievement in 1st grade (as measured by school records) as well as on short-term language, pre-literacy, emotional, and behavioral outcomes, in the preschool and Kindergarten years. In the proposed research, 18 Head Start sites in Chicago, IL (with 602 children enrolled in 35 classrooms) were randomly assigned a control group (with receipt of support from a teacher's aide) or to a multi-component classroom intervention that included extensive teacher training (Webster-Stratton, et al., 2002) and weekly mental health consultation. Our hypothesis was that the emotional climate of treatment-assigned classrooms could be improved and that children's emotional, behavioral, and academic difficulty could be reduced through appropriate service delivery, support and referral within early educational settings (Donahue, at al. 2000). In addition, it is expected that the intervention's effect sizes will be substantially affected by two moderating influences, including 1) family and community levels of cumulative risk, and 2) the degree to which programs are implemented, conceptualized as "dosage" of treatment administered in each setting. In short, what intervention approaches represent the wise investment in young children's chances for later school success? Does the CSRP intervention model offer long-term benefits to young children's emotional and behavioral adjustment and later school readiness? The research outlined in this application will answer these pressing empirical questions using direct assessments of children's emotional and behavioral adjustment, language and pre-literacy skills. This project's use of direct child assessments will be complemented by the inclusion of parent and teacher report, children's grades, use of special services, and standardized achievement test scores from preschool through 1 grade.
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects