Sesame Street Study

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Thank you for your interest in PHMC’s Research and Evaluation Group’s study of an online professional developmental course, Growing Together, created by Sesame Street.

The study will take place between January and April 2020. We hope to have all teachers and parents enrolled before the holidays.

This fall, you may see announcements in your email or at provider events.

Directors: 

What is this study about?

What is being studied?
Research is at the core of Sesame Street’s model for creating engaging and effective content for young children and families. We are studying the effectiveness of Sesame Street’s Growing Together online professional development course.

Our goal for the research is to assess the impact of the Sesame Street resources on teachers’ and parents’ knowledge, attitudes and self-reported behavior regarding family engagement, as well as the impact of the resources on children’s social emotional skills (as reported by teachers).

Who is conducting the study?
Sesame Street has selected PHMC’s Research & Evaluation Group (REG) to conduct the study of their Growing Together online professional development course. To learn more about REG, visit our website: http://www.phmcresearch.org/sesamestreet.

Why should my centers’ teachers and parents participate in the study?
By participating in the study, teachers and parents are helping us to determine whether or not the Growing Together online professional development course is effective. Teachers and parents in the intervention group will also be given the opportunity to provide their feedback so that the course can be improved in the future.

Teachers and parents will be compensated for their time to complete study surveys (see below).

Why a family engagement course for providers?
Families are a child's first teachers. Lessons learned from home help to shape a young child's interest in learning, and ways to engage, and preparation for success in school. When providers celebrate the experiences of children within their families, we create opportunities in early childhood settings for children to be successful. Educators like you have the power to harness the relationships with parents to prepare children for school and the world across every developmental domain.

This free course highlights the ways that children learn from parents, providers, and experiences in their community across every developmental domain. Across five units, providers will explore strategies for school readiness with an overview of developmental domains, actionable steps to promote engagement in educational settings, and tips to strengthen partnerships with parents.

  • In Unit 1, Growing Together uses a child's curiosity to explore approaches to learning, and ways to make every moment with a student meaningful.
  • In Unit 2, Growing Together builds the bridge between a child's home and school communities that extend social emotional competence into academic success.
  • In Unit 3, the course helps participants learn how exposure to vocabulary and open-ended questions advance the language and literacy of children and their role in the world.
  • In Unit 4, Growing Together explores the varied types of motor development and ways in which healthy eating, playing, and moving are directly related to student focus and academic success.
  • In Unit 5, the course provides strategies to spur cognition in early childhood through STEAM activities that promote resilience, and resources to extend mathematical concepts.

Upon completion of the course, educators will receive a certificate detailing the lesson objectives aligned to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. We recommended printing this FAQ page to share with those who are granting credit.

This course is designed to be completed at the participant's own pace. For the study, we ask that teachers take one unit every two weeks. Units are estimated to take about 45 minutes. The units of the course must be completed in order. (When other teachers take the course later, they can complete the course in one sitting or over multiple sittings.)

Who will participate in this study?

How many centers, teachers, and parents will participate in the study?
Approximately one teacher and three to six parents from up to 185 different centers will participate in the study. Centers are being recruited from Washington, D.C. and throughout Pennsylvania with a focus on Philadelphia.

Our goal for the research is to assess the impact of the Sesame Street resources on teachers’ and parents’ knowledge, attitudes and self-reported behavior regarding family engagement, as well as the impact of the resources on children’s social emotional skills (as reported by teachers).

Why can only one teacher per center participate in the study? What if more than one teacher at my center is interested?
To best understand the impact of the Growing Together course, we can only have one teacher per center. We will “flip a coin” and randomly assign teachers to either the intervention or comparison group.

While only one teacher can participate in the study now, Sesame Street invites all teachers to use the resources after the study is completed.

If more than one teacher signs up from a center, researchers will randomly select one teacher from the center to participate.

Why do three to six parents from each participating teacher’s classroom need to participate in the study? What happens if less than three parents sign up? What happens if more than six parents sign up?
We need at least three parents so that we have a large enough sample size for our study. However, we do not want more than six parents because of the burden that would pose to intervention teachers to have to work with more than six parents.

If fewer than three parents sign up for the study from a teacher’s classroom by the end of the recruitment period, the teacher and parents who did sign up will not be included in the study. The teacher can still take the course, if interested, without being in the study.

If more than six parents sign up for the study from a teacher’s classroom, then researchers will randomly select six parents to participate in the study.

What is the eligibility criteria to participate?

To be eligible for the study, centers:

  • Cannot be a family childcare home
  • Cannot be operated by a school district
  • Must have 3 four year olds enrolled in the same classroom
  • Must have at least 50 percent of the children enrolled from low-income families (for example, receiving childcare subsidies, income eligible for free and reduced meals)
  • Cannot be participating in PHLPreK
  • Must be located either in Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C.

To be eligible, teachers must:

  • Work in an eligible center with a director who has agreed for the center to participate in the study
  • Serve as the lead teacher in a classroom with at least 3 four year olds (can be a co-teacher and can teach a mixed age class)
  • Have access to reliable, high-speed internet
  • Have an email address that can be shared with researchers Read English enough to understand course materials and/or surveys

To be eligible, parents must:

  • Have a child who is four or will turn four during January and April 2020 enrolled in a classroom at least 3 days in a typical week with a teacher interested in participating in the study
  • Have access to reliable, high-speed internet
  • Have an email address that can be shared with researchers
  • Read English enough to understand course materials and/or surveys
  • Be available during the timeframe of the study (January-April 2020)

Can I require teachers and/or parents to participate in the study?
No, all participation must be voluntary.

Can I choose whether my teacher and parents are in the intervention or comparison group?
No, you cannot choose whether your teacher and parents in the intervention or comparison group. The study is using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design meaning that study participants must be randomly assigned by the researchers to either the intervention or comparison group.

What would my center, teachers, and parents need to do

What is involved for directors?
Beside assessing if the study is a good fit for your center and gauging interest of your teachers, directors are not involved with the study and will not need to help in administering surveys as they will be given online.

What is involved for intervention teachers?
Intervention teachers will be expected to do the following:

  1. Complete a baseline teacher survey and baseline surveys for up to six of their students
  2. Enroll in the online course and complete one unit every two weeks
  3. Engage in the course-suggested activities with parents and students
  4. Complete checklists/feedback forms every other week
  5. Complete a follow-up teacher survey, follow-up surveys for up to six of their students and program feedback form
  6. Participate in a telephone focus group, if invited.

It is expected that baseline and follow-up surveys will take between 30-50 minutes to complete depending on the number of children. We estimate that taking the course, engaging in the activities with parents and students, and completing the checklists/feedback forms will take teachers 1.5-2.5 hours per week. If invited to participate, the focus group should take about one hour. Teachers will be encouraged to complete surveys and view the online course during times that they are not responsible for children at the center (e.g. lunch, breaks, or outside of work). Teachers will work the children and parents on course suggested activities during their working hours.

What is involved for comparison teachers?
Comparison teachers will be expected to do the following:

  1. Complete a baseline teacher survey and baseline surveys for up to six of their students
  2. Complete a follow-up teacher survey and follow-up surveys for up to six of their students

It is expected that baseline and follow-up surveys will take between 30-50 minutes to complete depending on the number of children. Teachers will be encouraged to complete surveys during times that they are not responsible for children at the center (e.g. lunch, breaks, or outside of work hours).

  • $25 Amazon.com gift card for completing all five checklists/feedback forms
  • $50 Amazon.com gift card for participating in a focus group

What is involved for intervention parents?
No, all participation must be voluntary.

Intervention parents will be expected to do the following:

  1. Complete a baseline parent survey and a baseline survey for their child
  2. Have discussions with the teacher pertaining to course-related topics
  3. Engage in teacher-suggested, course-related activities with their child
  4. Complete checklists/feedback forms every other week
  5. Complete a follow-up parent survey, follow-up survey for their child and program feedback form
  6. Participate in a telephone focus group, if invited

It is expected that baseline and follow-up surveys will take about 20 minutes to complete. We estimate that having discussions with teachers and engaging in activities with their child will take parents 30-60 minutes per week.

What is involved for comparison parents?
Comparison parents will be expected to do the following:

  1. Complete a baseline parent survey and a baseline survey for their child
  2. Complete a follow-up parent survey and follow-up survey for their child It is expected that baseline and follow-up surveys will take about 20 minutes to complete.

What is involved for children?
Information will not be collected directly from children as part of the study. Children from the intervention group whose teachers and parents are participating may experience course-suggested activities. Comparison children will engage in business-as-usual, meaning that they do not have to do anything different than they normally would.

What will happen with the data collected? Can I see the results for my center?
Results will not identify centers, teachers, parents, or children participating in the study. We will combine all individual responses to create summary statistics. We will not be able to share results regarding individual teachers, parents, or children with directors as it would violate confidentiality.

Will my center, teachers, and parents receive anything for participating?

Will my center receiving anything for participating in the study?
After the study is done and teachers have completed the surveys, all centers completing the study will receive Sesame Street books, posters, and magnets, specifically:

  • 3 copies of Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me books
  • 3 copies of Comfy, Cozy Nest
  • 25-50 copies of Sesame Street Emergency Prep Family Guide
  • 2 Sesame Strong posters
  • 3 copies of We are Amazing 1,2, 3 and 3 copies of Family Forever: A Story of Families and Autism
  • 2 Sesame Street Magnets

Will teachers be compensated for their time?
Teachers will receive the following:

  • $10 Amazon.com gift cards for completing the baseline teacher survey
  • $8 Amazon.com gift card for each baseline survey about a child they complete (up to six)
  • $15 Amazon.com gift card for completing the follow-up teacher survey
  • $8 Amazon.com gift card for each follow-up survey about a child they complete (up to six)
  • Entry into a drawing for 1 of 4 tablets for completing both baseline and follow-up surveys (the chance of a teacher winning is about 4 in 185 or better)

For example, a comparison teacher who has the parents of five children in the study and completes all surveys at baseline (teacher survey + five child reports), but only the teacher survey and two child reports at follow-up would earn $81 in Amazon.com gift cards and would not be entered into the drawing.

Intervention teachers will not be compensated for taking the course or performing associated activities. Intervention teachers will receive:

  • $25 Amazon.com gift card for completing all five checklists/feedback forms
  • $50 Amazon.com gift card for participating in a focus group

Will parents be compensated for their time?
Parents will receive the following:

  • $10 Amazon.com gift cards for completing the baseline teacher survey
  • $15 Amazon.com gift card for completing the follow-up teacher survey
  • $5 Amazon.com gift card for completing both baseline and follow-up surveys

Intervention parents will not be compensated for participating in program-related activities. Intervention parents will receive:

  • Entry into a drawing for 1 of 50 $25 Amazon.com gift cards for completing at least 4 of 5 checklists/feedback forms (the chance of a parent winning is about 50 in 360 or better)
  • $50 Amazon.com gift card for participating in a focus group

 

Teachers:

Parents:

 

 

Have more questions?

Contact:
Megan Richardson
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
215.731.2039