An extensive scientific evaluation funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York has provided strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of the AVANCE Parent Child Education Program. Two annual cohorts were followed for 2 years at 2 program sites. Control groups which were randomly assigned at 1 site and matched at the second site were also employed. Upon completion of the program and then again one year later, data was collected concerning maternal knowledge, behavior, attitudes and continuing education with both groups. Group comparisons revealed the following findings.
Number of Participants: 486 mothers
- Age range — Children between 1 and 24 months
- Race/Ethnicity — Mexican American
- Gender — Not specified
- Status — Participants were mothers from low-income families
Summary: The intervention was tested at two sites. At one site, mothers were randomly assigned to the intervention or a control group. At the second site, mothers receiving the intervention were matched with a comparison group on child’s age, mother’s age, child’s gender, mother’s marital status, number of children, mother’s education, family income, and mother’s country of origin. Participants were observed at the beginning of the intervention, at the end of the first year, and at 1-year follow. Mother-child teaching interactions were assessed with the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME), a videotaped Mother-Child Interaction free play session, and the Early Learning Questionnaire, which assesses mothers’ attitudes about teaching their children. Significant intervention effects were found for both the randomized and matched comparison sites. Mothers in the intervention displayed more positive affect, better communication skills, and higher quality cognitive stimulation. One issue noted was that there was a 47% dropout rate for intervention families. This was attributed to greater time demands on intervention families. The usual reasons for dropping out were moving farther from program sites and conflicting employment schedules.
Length of post-intervention follow-up: 1 year
Johnson, D., Walker, T. B., & Rodriguez, G.G. (1996). Teaching low-income mothers to teach their children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11, 101-114.
Walker, T. B., Rodriguez, G.G., Johnson, D.L., & Cortez, C.P. (1995). Avance Parent-Child Education Program. In: Smith, S., ed. Advances in applied developmental psychology, 9, 67-90. Two generation programs for families in poverty: A new intervention strategy. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.
AVANCE program mothers were observed to:
- Provide a more organized, stimulating & responsive home environment
- Provide more developmentally appropriate toys
- Be more positive in interacting with child
- Initiated more social interactions with child
- Use more contingent praise with child
- Spend more time teaching child
- Talk more with child
- Use more developmentally appropriate speech with child
- Be more encouraging of child verbalizations
Program mother-child dyadic interaction was marked by:
- Enhanced mutual enjoyment of the activity
- Mutual responsivity & turn-taking
- Participation in joint rather than parallel activities
AVANCE program mothers reported:
- More nurturing attitudes towards child
- More opposition to physical punishment
- Enhanced view of self as child’s teacher
- Increased sense of parental efficacy
- Increased parental knowledge and skills
- Increased knowledge & use of community resources
- Increased knowledge of contraceptive methods
Continuing Education: Upon graduation from the parent education program, significantly more program participants elected to continue their education by enrolling in continuing education classes