#comebackstronger on November 23th and 24th, 2021 | Zurich, Switzerland
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Effects of early intervention in psycho-socially disadvantaged families in the transition to school: Results from the ZEPPELIN study
Alex Neuhauser, Simone Schaub, Ramona Eberli, Isabelle Kalkusch, Patsawee Rodcharoen, Erich Ramseier, Andrea Lanfranchi
University of Teacher Education in Special Needs, Switzerland
It is generally acknowledged that supporting psycho-socially disadvantaged families in the first years of their child’s life is most effective in improving long-term educational opportunities. However, very few studies to date have examined the effectiveness of early intervention over longer term. The RCT Study ZEPPELIN examines the effectiveness of the "PAT – Mit Eltern Lernen" program in the area surrounding Zurich. 132 families with psycho-social burdens (e.g. poverty and migration) were supported at home during the first three years after the birth of their children. In addition, group meetings were held monthly at the family center. To examine the question of whether PAT shows long-term effects, the intervention group was compared with 116 families from a control group that received no intervention apart from the general services provided by the communities. Linear regression analyses show that the early support continues to have an impact at kindergarten age - two years after the end of the intervention program. In the first year of kindergarten, the children with PAT showed better German skills, higher self-regulation and fewer behavioral problems. In contrast, no effects were found regarding intelligence and mathematical skills. Results from the second year of kindergarten indicate that the effects from the first year of kindergarten are largely replicated. Regarding the first school year, preliminary analyses indicate a positive effect of PAT on mathematics and reading again. These findings are relevant in respect to the long-term goal of increasing equal educational opportunities through measures of early intervention. Still, it remains to be investigated whether early intervention with PAT also has an impact on academic achievement onwards during primary school and in the transition to the lower secondary level.