Is it really easy peasy to improve child development?
7 June 2018
Author: Julie Watson, Metacognition-lead, Huntington Research School
A brand new randomised controlled trial suggests that it is!
‘EasyPeasy’ is a parenting app that provides a digital programme that encourages positive parent-child interaction through play in the home. This research was carried out by University of Oxford’s Department of Education and on the 16th May the findings were published by the Sutton Trust.
This initial trial was carried out over a 3-month period and a total of 302 families took part with children aged 3-4 years. They were recruited from 8 children’s centres in in Newham, all of which were in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
The programme uses a mobile phone to send game ideas and tips on child development to parents. Parents were sent short video clips that gave them ideas of games to play with their child, along with brief written instructions and a series of text reminders encouraging them to try out the games.
Questionnaires completed by parents were used in order to assess the effects of EasyPeasy on children and parents.
The intervention group was compared with a matched group (who received no intervention) and there was found to be a significant difference in reported improvements in their children’s cognitive self-regulation, meaning they were better at persisting with difficult tasks, making decisions independently, and working things out for themselves.
It also had a positive impact on children’s development- concentration levels, determination, and ability to make their own decisions. Additionally parents reported having an increased sense of control.
Overall, the study signposts some potentially effective way for parents to support their child’s early learning at home, and help them get ready for school as evidence shows engaged parents are major influences on children’s development. The EEF are carrying out a full evaluation of ‘EasyPeasy’ with the report due in spring 2019.Posted on 7 June 2018
Posted in: Blog
Tags: early years, Easy peasy, parents