Profiles of family engagement in home- and center-based Early Head Start programs: Associations with child outcomes and parenting skills

  • University of Oklahoma
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Using the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study (Baby FACES; Vogel & Boller, 2009-2012), the present study employed a person-centered approach to identify profiles of family engagement in home- and center-based Early Head Start (EHS) programs. We identified three profiles with different patterns across two structural dimensions (home involvement and program involvement) and one relational dimension (parent-staff relationships) of family engagement in both program types. We then examined associations of these profiles with child and parenting outcomes at age 3 and the outcome change scores from age 2 to 3. For home-based programs, children in profiles 2 and 3 indicating high home involvement showed significantly higher engagement/orientation skills than children in profile 1 indicating low home involvement and low parent-staff relationships. For center-based programs, a high home and low program involvement (profile 2) and a high involvement (profile 3) showed better child and parenting outcomes in the areas of child receptive vocabulary, parental sensitivity, stimulation of cognitive development, and intrusiveness as well as greater increases in parental cognitive stimulation than families in a low home and high program involvement (profile 1). Profiles 1 and 3 showed fewer child problem behaviors and greater increases in child engagement/orientation than profile 2, while profile 3 showed higher social competence than profile 2. In addition, profile 1 showed greater increases in child emotional regulation than profiles 2 and 3. This study contributes to advancing our understanding of the role of different dimensions and patterns of family engagement in home- and center-based EHS programs.

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... Recently, evidence has emerged linking caregivers' involvement to preschool children's learning behavior [41]. Using a sample of children attending Early Head Start programs, Jeon et al. [49] found that children living in families with high levels of home-based involvement across ages 2-3 years showed significantly higher levels of engagement and orientation (i.e., positive affect and interest) than their peers living in families with low levels of home-based involvement. Moreover, Hayes et al. [50] showed that caregiver involvement in shared reading and home activities at age 2 years predicted children's positive learning behavior at age 6 years. ...
... We hypothesized that single parenthood (see Refs. [12,30], a low family socioeconomic status (see Refs. [13,31], a large family size (see Ref. [13], the poor physical health of the family (see Ref. [34], income loss (see Refs. [35,36], and household chaos (see Ref. [38] would be potential barriers to caregivers' home-based involvement. We also expected higher levels of home-based involvement to be associated with more positive learning behavior (see Refs. [41,49,50] and fewer symptoms of emotional distress in preschool children (see Ref. [54]. ...
... Specifically, the results showed that primary caregivers' higher levels of homebased involvement were associated with children's higher levels of positive learning behavior and lower levels of emotional distress, including anxiety/withdrawal, fearfulness, and acting out. These findings are consistent with the study's hypotheses, and adds to evidence from decades of research on caregiver involvement [41,49,50,54]; for meta-analytical reviews, see Refs. [39,45]. ...
School closures during the COVID-19 pandemic have forced many children around the world to spend unprecedented amounts of time at home, and the responsibility for educating children, especially young ones, has largely fallen to parents and caregivers. Using a sample of 764 households with preschool children in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originated, this study examined the impact of the pandemic on primary caregivers' involvement in their children's education at home, and the barriers and benefits of such involvement for preschool children's learning and well-being. The results showed that primary caregivers were generally less involved in their children's education at home during the pandemic than they were prior to it. Having younger children, a lower socioeconomic status (i.e., parents' lower levels of education and less prestigious occupations), poorer physical health, and higher levels of chaos were associated with lower frequencies of home-based involvement exhibited by caregivers. Finally, caregivers' home-based involvement during the pandemic was beneficial to preschool children's learning behavior and emotional health. The findings highlight the importance of understanding the barriers and benefits of caregivers' home-based involvement for designing interventions and policies to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on children and their families.
... This study is also informed by Kim and Sheridan's family engagement model (Kim & Sheridan, 2015). Two central dimensions of family engagement proposed by Kim & Sheridan (2015) include: (1) the structural dimension (ECEC and family efforts working side by side to support children's learning and development); and (2) the relational dimension (a focus on continuing communication, connections, and interactions between families and educators) (Jeon et al., 2020). The structural dimension can include parent involvement in activities in ECEC settings, which may provide the opportunity to observe practices used by educators to promote children's learning and development which parents can then implement in the home (Barnett et al., 2020). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services and families, impacting family access to services and their communication and engagement with educators. This study aimed to examine parents’ perspectives of family engagement with ECEC services during the pandemic. Primary caregivers in Victoria at the time of recruitment (September–November 2020) were invited to participate. Of the 66 participants who completed an online survey, 25 also took part in semi-structured video call or phone interviews; qualitative findings from these interviews are reported in this paper. Four key themes were conceptualised using a reflexive thematic approach: (1) disruptions to ECEC access and attendance impacting on family routines and relationships, and child development; (2) barriers to family engagement; (3) ECEC educators’ support of families and children during the pandemic; and (4) increased parental appreciation of the ECEC profession. Findings revealed that disruptions to ECEC access and routines during the pandemic adversely impacted family engagement, and child learning and social-emotional wellbeing for some families. These were aggravated by other stressors, including increased parental responsibilities in the home, financial and health concerns, and changed work conditions. Findings also demonstrated successful methods used by educators to maintain communication and connections with families. Importantly, parents expressed increasing appreciation of the profession and an increased awareness of the value of family involvement in children’s learning. Learnings regarding strategies for effective and alternative ways of engaging families are discussed.
... High quality early learning programs that include parenting supports (for example, the Abecedarian program), have demonstrated significant long-term benefits for highly vulnerable children (Campbell et al. 2002). Studies have also demonstrated the importance of positive parent-educator communication to enhance the home learning environment (Jeon et al. 2020;Lin et al. 2019). Through engaging in responsive language-rich interactions, both parents and educators can play a significant role in improving the learning and development of young children. ...
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This paper explores strategies that support Aboriginal parents’ mastery of evidence-based early learning strategies, and their impact on young Aboriginal children’s learning outcomes. The three-year study followed 32 parent-child dyads attending Families as First Teachers (FaFT) playgroups in two remote Northern Territory communities in 2015–2017. Trained FaFT staff provided parents with coaching in the use of Conversational Reading—an evidence-based shared reading strategy in first language—at FaFT. The study examined patterns of parent mastery across the three-year study period, the relationship between levels of parent-child participation at FaFT (program dosage) and parent mastery, and the impact of parent mastery of Conversational Reading on young Aboriginal children’s language and learning outcomes. By including measures of parent-child participation and parent mastery of key program strategies at three time points, the study also provides a picture of the fidelity of program implementation across the study period. The findings indicate that parents’ mastery of strategies (and thus the fidelity of program implementation) increased over time in line with the program dosage parents received. Higher levels of parent-child participation at FaFT and parent mastery of strategies at the end of the program were positively associated with children’s language and learning outcomes. This study demonstrates that the provision of coaching at playgroup is an effective way to build parent capacity in the implementation of evidence-based early learning strategies, and that supporting parent mastery of teaching strategies has the potential to improve the learning outcomes of young children in remote Aboriginal communities.
This study examined the direct and indirect associations of teachers’ depressive symptoms with children’s math achievement through teachers’ reports of family–teacher relationships and children’s approaches to learning (ATL) in Head Start. This study included 3‐ and 4‐year‐old 1,547 children (49% female; 27% White, 24% Black, 41% Hispanic/Latino, and 8% others) who attended Head Start from fall 2014 through spring 2015. Results indicated that teachers’ depressive symptoms were directly associated with lower gains in children’s math skills over a year. In addition, teachers who reported higher depressive symptoms were less likely to report positive family–teacher relationships. This, in turn, resulted in lower gains in children’s ATL and was associated with lower achievement in math skills (r2 = .69).
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Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11, this study relied on latent class analysis (LCA) to advance a subpopulation view of parent involvement (PI) in elementary school. Four PI subpopulation profiles were yielded using the LCA approach. Two of these parent subpopulations were involved in a limited number of school-based PI activities. Two others were involved in multiple activities at the school. It is significant that additional latent class regression analyses indicated that membership in these PI profile groups could be predicted by parents’ sociodemographic characteristics, especially their ethnicity, occupational status, family income, and social capital. Together, these findings highlight needs for school social workers to help schools develop PI programs and policies that are more nuanced. PI initiatives need to be tailored to fit the characteristics of particular parent subpopulations and particular school community contexts.
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Research Findings: The teacher–child relationships that develop in infant/toddler child care provide a critical caregiving context for young children’s socioemotional development. However, gaps remain in researchers’ understanding of the individual-level processes that facilitate socioemotional development, specifically in center-based child care programs. Guided by ecological theory, this article offers a review of the current literature on this topic, including influential factors and developmental outcomes associated with teacher–child interaction quality, the teacher–child relationship as a compensatory mechanism for children facing risk, and differential susceptibility to caregiving experiences. Practice or Policy: Within the context of infant/toddler child care, many opportunities exist for researchers to refine the measurement of individual teacher–child interactions, test young children’s self-regulation as an outcome variable, and develop understanding of compensatory and differential susceptibility mechanisms. Clarifying these processes will inform early childhood education teacher training in terms of how teachers can best facilitate healthy socioemotional outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable children.
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Background Teacher qualifications have been emphasized as a basis of professional development to improve classroom practices for at-risk children’s school readiness. However, teacher qualifications have often not been compared to another form of professional development, in-service training. Objective The current study attempts to investigate contributions of multiple types of professional development to school readiness skills of low-income preschoolers. Specifically, we examined the significance of teachers’ education level, degree, teaching certificate, teaching experiences as well as specialized in-service training and coaching support as these teacher trainings are linked to preschoolers’ school readiness through proximal classroom practices. Method We used a multi-level path analysis to examine multiple pathways from teachers’ professional development to classroom environments and school readiness with Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2003 (N = 2,159). Results Teachers with an early childhood education major provided higher-quality provision for learning and social-emotional practices in the classroom; teachers who received coaching provided higher-quality social-emotional and parent involvement practices. Further, children in higher-quality social-emotional classrooms had better math skills, social skills and learning behaviors; children in the classrooms with higher-quality parent involvement practices had higher receptive vocabulary and parent-reported social skills and positive approaches to learning. Conclusions Along with early childhood education degree, ongoing coaching support would work effectively, improving classroom environments and a broad array of school readiness skills of at-risk children.
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This study examined the level and impact offive types ofparent involvement on elementary school children's academic achievement by race/ethnicity, poverty, andparent educational attainment. The sample comprised 415 third through fifth graders who completed the Elementary School Success Profile. Hypotheses from Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital were assessed with t tests, chi-square statistics, and hierarchical regressions. Consistent with the theory, parents with different demographic characteristics exhibited different types of involvement, and the types of involvement exhibited by parents from dominant groups had the strongest association with achievement. However, contrary to theoretical expectations, members of dominant and nondomi- nant groups benefited similarly from certain types of involvement and dif- ferently from others. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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The purposes of this study were to determine the extent and types of parent involvement in Head Start programs, and to examine the relations between parent participation and family, teacher and classroom characteristics. Parents (n = 1131) and teachers (n = 59) from four Head Start programs participated. Data were gathered through volunteer logs, parent interviews, teacher questionnaires, and classroom observations. The most frequent type of parent involvement activity was helping out in the classroom, followed by attendance at parent meetings. This pattern was consistent across the year (fall or spring), and across total amount of participation (i.e. parents participating one, two, three or more times in the year). Parent employment was the strongest predictor of parent involvement compared to other parent characteristics. Among teacher and classroom characteristics, classroom quality was the strongest predictor of parent involvement. Also, teachers with more years of experience in Head Start had more total hours of volunteering in their classrooms and had volunteers returning more times. Teachers’ reports of the involvement of parents in their classrooms were moderately correlated with volunteer logs, while parent self-reports of their involvement were only modestly correlated with volunteer logs, indicating that teachers may be more accurate than parents when reporting parent involvement activities.
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Mixture modeling is a widely applied data analysis technique used to identify unobserved heterogeneity in a population. Despite mixture models' usefulness in practice, one unresolved issue in the application of mixture models is that there is not one commonly accepted statistical indicator for deciding on the number of classes in a study population. This article presents the results of a simulation study that examines the performance of likelihood-based tests and the traditionally used Information Criterion (ICs) used for determining the number of classes in mixture modeling. We look at the performance of these tests and indexes for 3 types of mixture models: latent class analysis (LCA), a factor mixture model (FMA), and a growth mixture models (GMM). We evaluate the ability of the tests and indexes to correctly identify the number of classes at three different sample sizes (n D 200, 500, 1,000). Whereas the Bayesian Information Criterion performed the best of the ICs, the bootstrap likelihood ratio test proved to be a very consistent indicator of classes across all of the models considered.
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This study examined a process model of relations among children's perceptions of their parents, their motivation, and their performance in school. Children's perceptions of their parents on dimensions of autonomy support and involvement were measured with the new children's perceptions of parents scale. Three motivation variables—control understanding, perceived competence, and perceived autonomy—were hypothesized to mediate between children's perceptions of their parents and their school performance. Analyses indicated that perceived maternal autonomy support and involvement were positively associated with perceived competence, control understanding, and perceptions of autonomy. Perceived paternal autonomy support and involvement were related to perceived competence and autonomy. In turn, the 3 motivation variables, referred to as inner resources, predicted children's performance. Structural equation modeling generally supported the mediational model.
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Using the Kullback-Leibler information criterion to measure the closeness of a model to the truth, the author proposes new likelihood-ratio-based statistics for testing the null hypothesis that the competing models are as close to the true data generating process against the alternative hypothesis that one model is closer. The tests are directional and are derived for the cases where the competing models are non-nested, overlapping, or nested and whether both, one, or neither is misspecified. As a prerequisite, the author fully characterizes the asymptotic distribution of the likelihood ratio statistic under the most general conditions. Copyright 1989 by The Econometric Society.
Parenting is a multidimensional construct that includes practices, attitudes, and emotional capacity. The aims of the study were to examine variation within parenting through a person-centered approach and the extent to which child and family characteristics were associated with profiles of parenting as well as the link between parenting profiles and children’s preacademic skills, language, and behavior outcomes in preschool. This study used data from low-income, ethnically diverse, preschool-aged children (n = 740) and their parents (n = 713) who were participants in a network of high-quality early care and education programs across the United States. Latent profile analyses uncovered four parenting profiles: (1) low enrichment, conflict-oriented, and distressed parent; (2) average enrichment, conflict-oriented, and distressed parent; (3) low to average enrichment, emotionally close, and low distressed parent; and (4) high enrichment, emotionally close, and low distressed parent. Child (age, minority status) and parent (family structure, home language, maternal age, level of education, school/training status, and depressive symptomatology) characteristics were predictive of being in a particular parenting group. Further, parenting profiles were predictive of children’s preschool outcomes. Implications for intervention and programming are discussed.
This book lays out how mental health practitioners can best engage parents in their childrens education for the child's best educational outcome. The book presents several different engagement strategies, allowing for differences in socio-political, cultural, and parental beliefs and understandings. Topics include information from early childhood, family processes, efficacy, racial socialization, and social capital. While of interest to educators and parents, this book is written primarily for the clinician, in particular clinicians working with vulnerable child and parent populations, who may be struggling with learning or developmental disabilities. • Concise, practical guide • Useful to psychologists, educators, and parents.
Currently enrolling approximately 900,000 poor children each year, Head Start has served 25 million children and their families since it was established 43 years ago. Presidents and policymakers have embraced and scorned it. At times, scientists have misguided it and the media has misunderstood it. Despite its longevity and renown, much of Head Start's story has never been disclosed to the general public. This book gives a detailed account of the remarkable program, surveying projects that were forerunners of Head Start, its birth during the Johnson administration, its fate during the presidency of George W. Bush, and the many years between; as well as what the future may hold in store for it. The authors offer an inside view of the program's decades of service, detailing the ever-changing waves of politics, ideology, science, media interest, and public mood, which oftentimes threatened the program's very existence. Providing a balanced assessment of Head Start's effectiveness, which has been a matter of debate since its inception, this study strives to answer questions that continue to pervade discussions about the program and its future. For example, why is Head Start, a leader of early childhood services, still struggling to prove itself? Why does it serve such a narrow segment of the population? And how can Head Start continue its mission, as universal pre-school becomes a reality?.
Extracts available on Google Books (see link below). For integral text, go to publisher's website :
Relations between multiple dimensions of family involvement in early childhood education and classroom outcomes were examined. Participants included 144 urban, Head Start children. Parental report of family involvement was gathered in late fall using a multidimensional assessment. Relations between family involvement dimensions and end of the year outcomes of approaches to learning, conduct problems, and receptive vocabulary were investigated. Results revealed that Home-Based family involvement emerged as the strongest predictor of child outcomes. This dimension associated significantly with children's motivation to learn, attention, task persistence, receptive vocabulary skills, and low conduct problems. The School-Based Involvement dimension was significantly related to low conduct problems in the classroom when combined with the influence of Home-Based Involvement. The School-Based Involvement and Home-School Conferencing dimensions did not predict later child outcomes when considered simultaneously with Home-Based Involvement.
This article discusses alternatives to single-step mixture modeling. A 3-step method for latent class predictor variables is studied in several different settings, including latent class analysis, latent transition analysis, and growth mixture modeling. It is explored under violations of its assumptions such as with direct effects from predictors to latent class indicators. The 3-step method is also considered for distal variables. The Lanza, Tan, and Bray (2013) method for distal variables is studied under several conditions including violations of its assumptions. Standard errors are also developed for the Lanza method because these were not given in Lanza et al. (2013).
Abstract— This article reviews the literature on self‐regulation and the development of school readiness and academic competence in early childhood. It focuses on relations between the development of cognitive aspects of regulation—referred to as executive functions and defined as abilities used to regulate information and to organize thinking in goal‐directed activities—and the development of reactivity and regulation in stimulus‐driven emotion, attention, and physiological stress response systems. It examines a bidirectional model of cognition–emotion interaction in the development of self‐regulation in which top‐down executive control of thought and behavior develops in reciprocal and interactive relation to bottom‐up influences of emotion and stress reactivity. The bidirectional model is examined within the context of innovative preschool interventions designed to promote school readiness by promoting the development of self‐regulation.
The primary aim of this study was to develop and validate a short form of the 42-item Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ) for use in preschool. Empirical evidence derived from a representative sample of preschool programs in a large city in New York State with the original version of the FIQ was used to select the items for a 21-item short form. A representative sample of 590 Head Start families was also identified from a large Head Start program in Pennsylvania to serve to validate the short form. Confirmatory factor analysis of the short form substantiated the three robust dimensions of family involvement from the original FIQ. Concurrent measures of parental satisfaction and assessments of children's literacy and mathematics skills along with an examination of family demographic variables supported the validity of the confirmed dimensions. Implications for the use of this multidimensional, short form of family involvement in large-scale program evaluation were discussed.
Persistent disparities exist between African American children and their European American counterparts across developmental domains. Early childhood intervention may serve to promote more positive outcomes among African American children. The current study examined whether and how the Early Head Start (EHS) program benefited African American children at the end of the program, when they were 36 months of age, as well as the parenting these children experienced and how this affected their developmental outcomes. The data show a wide and strong pattern of impacts of EHS for African American children and families. Path analysis yielded findings that suggested a direct effect of EHS on specific child outcomes and parenting processes within this group of African American families. Parental supportiveness and cognitive stimulation emerged as important direct influences on African American children's outcomes and as pathways through which Early Head Start benefits these children. These findings are discussed in the context of early childhood intervention practice.
A randomized trial of the multisite evaluation of the Parents as Teachers home visiting program indicated significant attrition from program services and wide variation in participation and involvement of the families. This exploratory study of parental engagement reflects a growing emphasis in the field on research related to implementation issues. Based on qualitative data from site visits with program staff and parents, the authors developed a model of five proposed dimensions of engagement. They examined quantitative data that served as indicators of the dimensions and explored parent and family factors that related to each type of engagement. The results indicated that it is both appropriate and useful to characterize parental engagement in home visiting programs as a multidimensional concept that goes beyond simply enrolling or dropping out. The data suggest that some dimensions of engagement are independent of others and that different parent factors relate to different types of engagement. The implications for future program evaluation, as well as for training and supervision in home visiting programs, are discussed.
The present study examined the relation between parent involvement in preschool and children's preliteracy skills. It also examined socioeconomic status (SES), parent depression, and single-parent status as predictors of parent involve- ment. Participants were 163 preschool-aged children from mostly low-income families, their parents, and their teachers. Teachers rated parent involvement, and preliteracy skills were assessed with standardized tests. Greater parent involve- ment was associated with stronger preliteracy skills. SES was positively associ- ated with involvement, although involvement still predicted preliteracy develop- ment controlling for SES. No significant relation was found between depression and parent involvement. Single-parent status was associated with less involve- ment, and data were consistent with single-parent status partially mediating the relation between SES and involvement. These findings extend work with older children, and provide a step toward understanding possible mechanisms in the relation between SES and parent involvement.
As evidence supporting the benefits of family involvement in learning mounts, there is an increasing demand for evaluation of family involvement initiatives and for additional research to inform practice and policy. Those designing and implementing family involvement programs must be responsive to calls to bolster the quality of the evidence base in the family involvement field by injecting rigorous methods into their evaluation. Many stakeholders, however, find it difficult to identify and locate tools and resources that support rigorous family involvement evaluations. In order to assess family involvement interventions in a high-quality way, family involvement leaders, school administrators, policymakers, and researchers need information about and access to evaluation tools, particularly standardized instruments for collecting data on family involvement practices. This resource compiles instruments developed for rigorous program impact evaluations and tested for reliability. (Contains 16 endnotes.)
Because parents and families are integral to any early childhood education, child care, or other child-focused investment strategy, this chapter highlights both the ways in which families are critical to program access and the ways in which programs influence parent well-being. The chapter is divided into 4 sections. In the 1st, effects of 4 general types of programs are reviewed, with respect to parental and family outcomes. The programs are (1) parent-focused home-based, (2) parent-focused combination center- and home-based, (3) intergenerational family literacy, and (4) parent-focused literacy programs. The 2nd section examines more deeply the premise that parents are engines of change in early intervention programs. Three issues are considered. The 1st concerns family outcomes that may be the most likely candidates to be mediators of change. The 2nd focuses on actual empirical tests of these outcomes as mediators of the intervention-to-child-outcome link. The 3rd examines parental involvement or engagement as a prerequisite for program efficacy. The next section focuses on policy and practice implications of early intervention program effects on parents, and the concluding section provides recommendations for the next wave of programs and their evaluations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
An overview of the literature pertaining to the construct of emotional availability is presented, illustrated by a sampling of relevant studies. Methodological, statistical, and conceptual problems in the existing corpus of research are discussed, and suggestions for improving future investigations of this important construct are offered.
Information pertaining to a revision of the Caldwell HOME Inventory for use with families of children ages 3 to 6 was presented. Factor and item analyses were used as a basis for reducing the number of items from 80 to 55. The items were clustered into eight subscales. Kuder-Richardson 20 coefficients for the scale ranged from .53 to .93. Concurrent and predictive validity studies indicated that the HOME scales significantly correlated with IQ (as high as r = .58). Low to moderate correlations were obtained between HOME scores and SES measures, with significant correlations ranging from .30 to .65.
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Family-centered intervention for young children at-risk for language and behavior problems
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Parent involvement in US early childhood education: Benefits, limitations, and reconceptualizations
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Family involvement in school and low-income children's literacy: Longitudinal associations between and within families
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