Parents play a central role in supporting the early learning that positions young children for success when they enter formal schooling. For this reason, efforts to engage families in meaningful collaboration is a long-standing goal of high-quality early childhood education (ECE). Family–school engagement can take multiple forms; in this review, we focus on universal preschool-based outreach strategies that help parents support growth in child social-emotional and self-regulation competencies and prepare them for the transition into formal schooling. Recent research has expanded understanding of the neurodevelopmental processes that underlie child school readiness, and the impact of parenting (and the social ecology affecting parenting) on those processes. These new insights have fueled innovation in preschool-based efforts to partner with and support parents, expanding and shifting the focus of that programming. In addition, new approaches to intervention design and delivery are emerging to address the pervasive challenges of reaching and engaging families, especially those representing diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This paper reviews developmental research that underscores the importance of prioritizing child social-emotional learning (with attention to self-regulation and approaches to learning) in universal preschool-based parenting programs targeting young children. We highlight the intervention strategies used in programs with strong evidence of impact on child readiness and school adjustment based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs). New directions in intervention design and delivery strategies are highlighted, with the hope of extending intervention reach and improving family engagement and benefit.
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This project was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD046064), National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1811472), the Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences (Grant Nos. R324A180037; R305A200436), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant No. P50DA048756). The views expressed in this article are the authors and do not necessarily represent the granting agencies. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Karen Bierman, The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Psychology, University Park, PA 16802; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bierman, K.L., Stormshak, E.A., Mannweiler, M.D. et al. Preschool Programs that Help Families Promote Child Social-Emotional School Readiness: Promising New Strategies. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 26, 865–879 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-023-00444-5