Assessing changes in pre-schoolers' home learning environment following the Early Words Together Programme

This study aims to explore the Home Learning Environment (HLE) in disadvantaged homes and the extent to which it can be subject to change, using an early years parent and child engagement programme (Early Words Together (EWT)) as a catalyst for change. It will do so through a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) involving 12 settings and 360 families in two geographical locations in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Half of the settings will implement the programme and half will act as a control group. Child language outcomes (BPVS) and HLE outcomes (HEQ) will be measured at pre-test, and after a 4-month baseline follow-up. Observations of the HLE, focusing on free-play, shared reading, verbal and non-verbal behaviours, in a subsample of participants to gain an in-depth understanding of change over time will also be conducted at the same time points. As well as assessing the outcomes of the programme, which is currently used in over 60 settings and which has not yet been the subject of an RCT, this research will answer questions on how the HLE can be changed, which aspects of the HLE are particularly likely to change and any barriers to HLE change that may exist in low socioeconomic households. This is a currently under-researched area but one that is of considerable policy interest given the importance of the early years in later educational attainment and the key function of the HLE within this.

Funding

Funder: Nuffield Foundation
Start Date September 2017
End Date June 2020

Members

Internal Staff

  • Nicole Gridley (Department of Health Sciences)
  • Louise Tracey (Department of Education)

 

External Partners

Public Health and Society Research in the Department of Health Sciences