FIGURE 4-1 Intellectual performance of children in the Abecedarian Project during the preschool years.

SOURCE: Ramey and Ramey (1999). Reprinted with permission.

Direct Provision of Learning Experiences

Children who receive direct educational experiences show larger and more enduring benefits than do children in programs that rely only on the training of parents to change children’s competencies. Variation in the delivery of services across programs between those that provide educational experiences to children directly and those that train caregivers (usually parents) to do so are clear: direct techniques are more powerful in enhancing children’s intellectual and social experiences (e.g., Casto and Lewis, 1984; Madden et al., 1976; Scarr and McCartney, 1988; Wasik et al., 1990). Even when weekly home visits were sustained from birth to age 5 in a randomized, controlled trial with economically disadvantaged, high-risk children (Wasik et al., 1990), no measurable benefits on children’s cognitive or social performance, parent attitudes or behavior, or the quality of the home environment were found. For the group that received both the weekly home visit and daily center-based intervention, there were significant cognitive gains for the children.

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