Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 2865–2878 | Cite as

Efficacy of Fun to Learn for the Young Program: Randomized Controlled Trial

Original Paper

Abstract

Early intervention for children from disadvantaged backgrounds has been found to be effective in improving their learning and psychosocial outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of the Fun to Learn for the Young (FLY) program using randomized controlled trial design with no blinding of participants. Participants included 200 Hong Kong Chinese parent–child dyads (intervention:101; control: 99) with children aged 18 months from disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants were recruited from three non-governmental organizations. The intervention group participated in the 60-session FLY program which consisted of direct teaching to children and parent training. Parent participants from both groups completed questionnaires on child learning, child behavior and parenting before the intervention, at the end of 40 sessions, and 60 sessions. The children were individually assessed on their preschool concepts and language skills at these three time points. Results indicated that the children in the intervention group made more gains in preschool concepts, language skills, school readiness and motivation, compared with control group children (ηp2 = .018–.029). The results provided some initial evidence that the FLY program was an effective early intervention program in promoting child learning.

Keywords

Parenting Child development Child learning Child behavior 

References

  1. Blok, H., Fukkink, R. G., Gebhardt, C., & Leseman, P. P. M. (2005). The relevance of delivery mode and other programme characteristics for the effectiveness of early childhood intervention. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 29, 35–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Broadhead, W. E., Gehlbach, S. H., de Gruy, F. V., & Kaplan, B. H. (1988). The Duke-UNC functional social support questionnaire: Measurement of social support in family medicine patients. Medical Care, 26, 709–723.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell, F. A., Ramey, C. T., Pungello, E., Sparling, J., & Miller-Johnson, S. (2002). Early childhood education: Young adult outcomes from the Abecedarian Project. Applied Developmental Science, 6, 42–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Census and Statistics Department. (2015). Hong Kong poverty situation report. Hong Kong: SAR Government.Google Scholar
  5. Census and Statistics Department. (2016). Population and household statistics analysed by district council district. Hong Kong: SAR Government.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Engle, P. L., & Black, M. M. (2008). The effects of poverty on child development and educational outcomes. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136, 243–256.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Engle, P. L., Black, M. M., Behrman, J. R., Cabral de Mello, M., Gertler, P. J., Kapiriri, L., Martorell, R., & Young, M. E., International Child Development Steering Group. (2007). Strategies to avoid the loss of developmental potential in more than 200 million children in the developing world. The Lancet, 369, 229–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Evans, G. (2004). The environment of childhood poverty. American Psychologist, 59, 77–92.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Eyberg, S. M., & Funderburk, B. (2010). Parent–child interaction therapy protocol (2010, Version 1.0). Gainesville, FL: PCIT International.Google Scholar
  11. Eyberg, S. M., & Ross, A. W. (1978). Assessment of child behavior problems: The validation of a new inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 16, 113–116.Google Scholar
  12. Flouri, E., Midouhas, E., & Joshi, H. J. (2014). Family poverty and trajectories of children’s emotional and behavioural problems: The moderating roles of self-regulation and verbal cognitive ability. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 1043–1056. doi:10.1007/s10802-013-9848-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fuchs-Beauchamp, K. (1996). Preschoolers’ inferred self-esteem: The behavioral rating scale of presented self-esteem in young children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 157, 204–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gardner, F., Burton, J., & Klimes, I. (2006). Randomized controlled trial of a parenting intervention in the voluntary sector for reducing child conduct problems: Outcomes and mechanisms of change. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1123–1132. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01668.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. (2015). 2016 Policy address. http://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2016/eng/index.html
  16. Gumpel, T. (1999). Use of item response theory to develop a measure of first-grade readiness. Psychology in the Schools, 36, 285–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heckman, J. J. (2008). Schools, skills and synapses. Economic Inquiry, 46, 289–324.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Hernandez, M. (2000). Using logic models and program theory to build outcome accountability. Education and Treatment of Children, 23, 24–40.Google Scholar
  19. Lai, W. W. H. (2013). Validation of a questionnaire to measure mastery motivation among Chinese preschool children aged two and three (Unpublished master’s dissertation). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
  20. Lam, D. (1999). Parenting stress and anger: The Hong Kong experience. Child & Family Social Work, 4(4), 337–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leung, C. M., Chan, S. C. M., Pang, R. C. Y., & Cheng, W. K. C. (2003). Validation of the Chinese version of the eyberg child behavior inventory for use in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Education and Manpower Bureau.Google Scholar
  22. Leung, C., Mak, R., Lau, V., Cheung, J., & Lam, C. (2013). The validation of a scale to measure cognitive development in Chinese preschool children. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34, 2257–2267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Leung, C., Sanders, M., Leung, S., Mak, R., & Lau, J. (2003). An outcome evaluation of the implementation of the triple P-positive parenting program in Hong Kong. Family Process, 42, 531–544.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Leung, C., Tsang, S., & Dean, S. (2011). Evaluation of a programme to educate disadvantaged parents to enhance child learning. Research on Social Work Practice, 21, 549–561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leung, C., Tsang, S., & Lo, C. (2015). Evaluation of parent and child enhancement (PACE) Program: Randomized controlled trial. Research on Social Work Practice, 27, 19–35. doi:10.1177/1049731515578882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leung, C., Tsang, S., Sin, T. C. S., & Choi, S. Y. (2015). The efficacy of parent–child interaction therapy with Chinese families: Randomized controlled trial. Research on Social Work Practice, 25, 117–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li, T. T. (2013). Validation of the Gumpel Readiness Inventory for 2- and 3-year-old children in Hong Kong (Unpublished master’s dissertation). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
  28. Lin, M. F. T. (2013). Validation of the behavior academic competence scale among Chinese preschool children ages 2 to 3 (Unpublished master’s dissertation). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
  29. Liu, K. K. (2013). Development and validation of the cognitive domain of the Preschool Developmental Assessment Scale for ages 2 to 3(Unpublished master’s dissertation). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
  30. Luiz, D., Barnard, A., Knoesen, N., Kotras, N., McAlinden, P., & O’ Connell, R. (2004). Griffiths Mental Development Scales-Extended Revised: 2 to 8 years (GMDS-ER 2-8). Oxford: Association for Research in Infant and Child Development.Google Scholar
  31. Magnuson, K., & Shager, H. (2010). Early education: Progress and promise for children from low-income families. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 1186–1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Manning, M., Homel, R., & Smith, C. (2010). A meta-analysis of the effects of early developmental prevention programs in at-risk populations on non-health outcomes in adolescence. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McInerney, D. M., & Ali, J. (2006). Multidimensional and hierarchical assessment of school motivation: Cross-cultural validation. Educational Psychology, 26, 717–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Reynolds, A. J. (2011). Maltreatment prevention through early childhood intervention: A confirmatory evaluation of the Chicago child–parent center preschool program. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1454–1463.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Najman, J. N., Hayatbakhsh, M. R., Heron, M. A., Bor, W., O’Callaghan, M. J., & Williams, G. M. (2009). The impact of episodic and chronic poverty on child cognitive development. The Journal of Pediatrics, 154, 284–289.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Perkins, S. C., Finegood, E. D., & Swain, J. E. (2013). Poverty and language development: Roles of parenting and stress. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 10, 10–19.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Reynell, J., & Huntley, M. (1985). Reynell developmental language scales (2nd revision). Windsor: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
  38. Sanders, M. R. (1999). Triple P-positive parenting program: Towards an empirically validated multilevel parenting and family support strategy for the prevention of behaviour and emotional problems in children. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2(2), 71–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The high/scope perry preschool study through age 40. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.Google Scholar
  40. Siegal, M., & Aboud, F. (2005). Characterizing the scope of socialization and its impact on health. Social Science and Medicine, 61, 2269–2271.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Stier, H., & Tienda, M. (2001). The color of money: Pathways to family, welfare, and work. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  42. Webster-Stratton, C., & Taylor, T. (2001). Nipping early risk factors in the bud: Preventing substance abuse, delinquency, and violence in adolescence through interventions targeted at young children. Prevention Science, 2, 165–192.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Wei, Y. F. (2013). Extension of an assessment tool: Preschool Developmental Assessment Scale-Language domain – Two-to-three-year-old toddler version (Unpublished master’s dissertation). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.Google Scholar
  44. Williams, L. R., Degnan, K. A., Perez-Edgar, K. E., Henderson, H. A., Rubin, K. H., & Pine, D. S., et al. (2009). Impact of behavioral inhibition and parenting style on internalizing and externalizing problems from early childhood through adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 1063–1075.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. Wong, M. Y., Leung, C., Siu, K. L., & Lam, C. C. (2012). Validating the language domain subtest in a developmental assessment scale for preschool children. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(5), 1633–1641.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Zill, N., Moore, K. A., Smith, E. W., Stief, T., & Coiro, M. J. (1991). The life circumstances and development of children in welfare families: A profile based on national survey data. Washington, DC: Child Trends.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Social SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Social Work and Social AdministrationThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations