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Parents as First Teachers, First Caregivers: Best Practices from the Parenting Skills Programs in Laos and in Peru

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Abstract:

Objective: To share best practices from Parenting Skills Program in Laos (3 years) and Peru (10 years): impact, what worked, what did not work, and next steps.

Conceptual framework: Scientific discoveries in the past decade have revealed the critical importance of early biological and psychosocial processes for foundational life skills and for helping children achieve their full potential. Studies from high-income countries confirm that children who are cared for from birth in safe, stable, responsive family environments that nurture their physical, cognitive, language-communication, and social-emotional development have better health, higher educational attainment, less behavioral problems and more gainful employment. Hence interventions that strengthen the capacity of families and caregivers during the very early years supported by enabling factors are critical.

In Peru and in Laos, an integrated Early Childhood Care and Development Parenting Skills Program (PSP) was carried out through home visits and group-based sessions using interactive age-group specific tools that incorporate traditional child rearing practices and cultural norms. The PSP integrated with existing family support structure (including health, nutrition, protection, and educational systems), and with a heavy emphasis of fathers’ involvement. Cadres of community workers were trained in health, nutrition, protection, ECD, participatory methods and adult learning principles and methodologies.

Target communities in both Peru and Laos share similar characteristics: rural, low literacy rates, poor health, nutrition and child-rearing practices, poor maternal and child health outcomes, high rates of stunting, poor access to health and educational services, and highly patriarchal communities with a gender preference for boys.

Laos
Research Design: A quasi experimental research design compared the results between two exposure villages and two control villages from household survey. Statistical tests included independent groups t- Test, cross tabulation and Chi-Square tests of association because of the largely categorical nature of the survey questions. Also carried out were key informant interviews, case studies, management and training records review.

Data sources: Data were collected from results of the quantitative (43-item household survey) and qualitative (key informant interviews and case studies, document reviews) surveys.

Results/Conclusions: There is a statistically significant association between PSP project exposure and raised awareness in relation to health, nutrition, disease prevention and child development, and to some extent reported change in behavior/practices in health, nutrition and disease prevention. Change in deeply embedded negative cultural beliefs and practices in some cases need to be addressed.

Peru
Research Design: A pre- and post- program review including a trend analysis was done to determine the impact of PSP on: i) learning outcomes on the cohort of children in the program area; ii) health, nutrition and child rearing practices; iii) social changes in community; and iv) sustainability of interventions two years after project closure.

Data sources: Data were obtained from interviews with parents, community members, MOH staff, community promoters, early childhood education and primary school teachers, and document reviews including community monitoring records.
Results/Conclusions: Two years post project closure, five volunteer community promoters continue to educate groups of parents and monitor PSP activities in their catchment areas. These community promoters have been invited to share their learnings and train other parent groups from other World Vision program areas, other development agencies (eg. PLAN International, Save the Children), local governments in Huanta, Ayacucho, Tacna, and the regional government of Cuzco. Fathers continue to actively participate in care, play and communication, toy-making activities; noticeable decrease in domestic violence and alcoholism down; sustained family cohesion; reduced stunting rates; improved maternal and child health outcomes. Community-managed early childhood education centers were established with high rates of enrollment (95%). Cohorts of older children in the program area are enrolled at expected age in primary school, performing well academically and socially, and completing primary school. Enabling factors include: child-focused, learner (parent)-centered, context- appropriate curriculum, community-driven/owned, father’s involvement, integrated programming supported by MOH and local government, collection and use of local data for timely decision making and advocacy.

Significance of Study: Even in marginalized low-literate, traditional societies, parents' transformation as First Teachers and Caregivers applying proven interventions is feasible when anchored in local mores, parents’ and communities’ dreams and vision for their children, and blended with adult learning principles, tools and methods. Equity is practiced as all pregnant women and their children are registered, cared for and followed up.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


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MLA Citation:

Hiebert, Linda. and Ord, Kerin. "Parents as First Teachers, First Caregivers: Best Practices from the Parenting Skills Programs in Laos and in Peru" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p718030_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hiebert, L. and Ord, K. , 2014-03-10 "Parents as First Teachers, First Caregivers: Best Practices from the Parenting Skills Programs in Laos and in Peru" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p718030_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Objective: To share best practices from Parenting Skills Program in Laos (3 years) and Peru (10 years): impact, what worked, what did not work, and next steps.

Conceptual framework: Scientific discoveries in the past decade have revealed the critical importance of early biological and psychosocial processes for foundational life skills and for helping children achieve their full potential. Studies from high-income countries confirm that children who are cared for from birth in safe, stable, responsive family environments that nurture their physical, cognitive, language-communication, and social-emotional development have better health, higher educational attainment, less behavioral problems and more gainful employment. Hence interventions that strengthen the capacity of families and caregivers during the very early years supported by enabling factors are critical.

In Peru and in Laos, an integrated Early Childhood Care and Development Parenting Skills Program (PSP) was carried out through home visits and group-based sessions using interactive age-group specific tools that incorporate traditional child rearing practices and cultural norms. The PSP integrated with existing family support structure (including health, nutrition, protection, and educational systems), and with a heavy emphasis of fathers’ involvement. Cadres of community workers were trained in health, nutrition, protection, ECD, participatory methods and adult learning principles and methodologies.

Target communities in both Peru and Laos share similar characteristics: rural, low literacy rates, poor health, nutrition and child-rearing practices, poor maternal and child health outcomes, high rates of stunting, poor access to health and educational services, and highly patriarchal communities with a gender preference for boys.

Laos
Research Design: A quasi experimental research design compared the results between two exposure villages and two control villages from household survey. Statistical tests included independent groups t- Test, cross tabulation and Chi-Square tests of association because of the largely categorical nature of the survey questions. Also carried out were key informant interviews, case studies, management and training records review.

Data sources: Data were collected from results of the quantitative (43-item household survey) and qualitative (key informant interviews and case studies, document reviews) surveys.

Results/Conclusions: There is a statistically significant association between PSP project exposure and raised awareness in relation to health, nutrition, disease prevention and child development, and to some extent reported change in behavior/practices in health, nutrition and disease prevention. Change in deeply embedded negative cultural beliefs and practices in some cases need to be addressed.

Peru
Research Design: A pre- and post- program review including a trend analysis was done to determine the impact of PSP on: i) learning outcomes on the cohort of children in the program area; ii) health, nutrition and child rearing practices; iii) social changes in community; and iv) sustainability of interventions two years after project closure.

Data sources: Data were obtained from interviews with parents, community members, MOH staff, community promoters, early childhood education and primary school teachers, and document reviews including community monitoring records.
Results/Conclusions: Two years post project closure, five volunteer community promoters continue to educate groups of parents and monitor PSP activities in their catchment areas. These community promoters have been invited to share their learnings and train other parent groups from other World Vision program areas, other development agencies (eg. PLAN International, Save the Children), local governments in Huanta, Ayacucho, Tacna, and the regional government of Cuzco. Fathers continue to actively participate in care, play and communication, toy-making activities; noticeable decrease in domestic violence and alcoholism down; sustained family cohesion; reduced stunting rates; improved maternal and child health outcomes. Community-managed early childhood education centers were established with high rates of enrollment (95%). Cohorts of older children in the program area are enrolled at expected age in primary school, performing well academically and socially, and completing primary school. Enabling factors include: child-focused, learner (parent)-centered, context- appropriate curriculum, community-driven/owned, father’s involvement, integrated programming supported by MOH and local government, collection and use of local data for timely decision making and advocacy.

Significance of Study: Even in marginalized low-literate, traditional societies, parents' transformation as First Teachers and Caregivers applying proven interventions is feasible when anchored in local mores, parents’ and communities’ dreams and vision for their children, and blended with adult learning principles, tools and methods. Equity is practiced as all pregnant women and their children are registered, cared for and followed up.


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