Positive role models in a child’s neighborhood are linked to school success in Memphis, TN.

June 23, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /
When parents feel like their neighbors are positive role models, their children reach kindergarten “more ready” to take on the task of early reading.

There are many resources that can help to support families with young children. Some resources, such as health insurance, sufficient nutrition, and books and toys, can support healthy early childhood development directly. Other resources, such as a safe home, help to support a family’s well-being, and reduce a child’s exposure to chaos and toxic stress. There is also a third category of resources that are not tied to a family’s income.

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These include the set of relationships and informal resources that a family can draw upon in times of need. For some families, these informal relationships provide a source of support. The help of extended family, neighbors, and friends can offer a safety net and provide an important resource to families. Collectively, these informal relationships are considered a large component of a family’s level of “social capital.”

The influence of having an informal network of interpersonal resources has been well documented on a range of outcomes for individuals and for communities. When neighbors keep a watch out for each other and keep a protective eye on each other’s homes and property, for example, not only do residents feel safer, but by objective measures, crime actually is lower in those neighborhoods.

If these informal resources are important for family well-being, is it possible that they also support early childhood development? In turn, do they help to support school readiness?

Our findings are striking: when parents feel like their neighbors are positive role models, their children reach kindergarten “more ready” to take on the task of early reading.

These findings help to strengthen our understanding of the ways that neighborhood characteristics can matter for early childhood well-being. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and this is particularly true for families trying to juggle the many demands of modern life. Having a neighbor or friend to count on for help can make a tremendous difference for families, including better outcomes for their children.

Read more in our full brief.

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Download Research Brief (PDF, 2014-02)

Contributing Authors: Marie Sell, Doug Imig, Shahin Samiei
A Partnership between The Urban Child Institute and Shelby County Schools


Books from Birth participation in Shelby County is linked to stronger reading performance in second grade.

May 23, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /
Prior findings: Kindergarten entry

Children who participated in the Books from Birth program prior to kindergarten entry had statistically higher kindergarten readiness scores in language and mathematics than children not enrolled in the program.

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Follow-up: Second grade

Our analysis indicates that students who had participated in the Books from Birth program prior to kindergarten entry had higher scores in reading development in second grade, compared to students who had not participated.

BfB children are more likely to be in the strongest tier and least likely to be in the weakest tier of readers in 2nd grade.

Significant differences in vocabulary and reading comprehension

The two subtests most fundamentally linked to early reading experiences are the two that showed significant differences between BfB participants and non-participants, namely vocabulary and reading comprehension.

The BfB advantage remains after we control for other factors associated with reading development

These findings are not a result of group differences in socioeconomic status or gender.

Read more in our full brief.

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Download Research Brief (PDF, 2014-01)

Contributing Authors: Marie Sell, Doug Imig, Shahin Samiei
A Partnership between The Urban Child Institute and Shelby County Schools


Delta Health Alliance continues to provide a greatly needed service to families in the Indianola community through the Leflore Parents as Teachers Program.

May 5, 2014 / Briefs 2014 / 0 Comments /

In 2013, the Delta Health Alliance Parents as Teachers (PAT) program assisted 91 Leflore County families in great need. This program sends a trained parent educator to each participating family’s home each month to offer support and assistance to new mothers and their infants and young children. In the past year, parent educators completed 1,112 personal visits.

Here are some highlights of PAT program gains over the past year:
  • More healthy birthweight babies and improved birth outcomes.
  • Improved rates of childhood immunization.
  • Healthy development of young children, supporting the health and well-being of the mothers of those children. Over 83% of child participants in the PAT program are developmentally on target across all five domains of development – communication skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem solving skills, and personal social skills.
  • Much needed social support provided to new and expectant mothers to support their coping skills, their care-giving skills, and their long-term strategizing skills.
In the Delta, PAT returns $3.80 for every dollar invested.
Meanwhile, we also identified several key domains where additional programmatic efforts are needed.


Download Report (PDF, 04-2014)

An Evaluation by Memphis Data Partners.


Pre-K makes a difference

January 8, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /
prekriskfactors

All test scores improve after one year for Pre-K.
Children with multiple family risk factors show the greatest improvement in scores after one year of Pre-K.

Source: Shahin Samiei, M. Sell & D. Imig. 2012. “Analysis of Pre-Kindergarten PPV-T scores by Family Risk Factors.”


Factors impacting reading readiness

January 8, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /
impactingreadingreadiness

Early childhood differences influence reading readiness…
Memphis, TN, 2012

Source: Shahin Samiei, M. Sell, A. Bush & D. Imig. 2012. “Evaluating the relationship between the Imagination Library early childhood literacy program and kindergarten readiness.”