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Head Start CARES (Head Start Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social skill promotion), 2007-2015

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Project Overview

The Head Start CARES (Classroom-based Approaches and Resources for Emotion and Social skill promotion) is a large-scale group-randomized trial of three social-emotional program enhancements within Head Start classrooms. The project includes an impact and implementation study of the following enhancements: Incredible Years Classroom Management program, Preschool PATHS, and Tools of the Mind. Head Start CARES involves 17 Head Start grantees, 104 centers, 307 classrooms, 608 teachers and teaching assistants, and 3927 three- and four-year-old children. Data collection began in the Spring of 2009 and kindergarten follow up data collection was completed in Spring of 2012. CARES has released findings on the role of coaching in teachers' professional development, large-scale implementation of evidence-based approaches, impacts of the demonstration on 4-year olds, and adaptation of an existing curriculum to meet the needs of children of migrant and seasonal workers. A forthcoming report will evaluate the effectiveness of CARES for 3-year olds. CARES data will be available for (restricted) public use in 2015.

The project will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • What is the effectiveness of specific social-emotional programs or practices within the Head Start population?
  • Are specific social-emotional programs or practices more or less effective for certain populations?
  • What characteristics of Head Start settings are necessary for effective implementation of different program or practices?
  • What factors are related to training, technical assistance, implementation and fidelity of programs or practices within Head Start settings?

This project is intended to meet the needs of the national Office of Head Start and local Head Start settings by specifically addressing the implementation, effectiveness, and improvement of program options and practices within the Head Start community. In the short term, the research will provide the Office of Head Start information regarding the appropriateness of specific programs or practices for use in Head Start settings nationwide, as well as information that can be used in technical assistance efforts. In addition the research will assist Head Start settings in deciding which programs or practices are most likely to improve children’s social-emotional development, given characteristics of their particular setting and the population it serves. The research in this procurement will provide the field with a resource of quality research findings that practitioners can use to make decisions about program options and practices.

Data are archived at the Child and Family Data Archive.

The points of contact are Ann Rivera, Wendy DeCourcey, and Christine Fortunato. 

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