Many Latino families immigrate to the United States because they want better economic opportunities and education for their children. But the reality of life in the U.S. is challenging for Latino immigrants. They are affected by language barriers, poverty, trauma, immigration status, and legal issues. In other words, they are stressed out and this makes it hard to parent and make real improvements to their lives that were the reasons they came to the U.S. in the first place. And their children don’t have an easy time, either. Latino children make up one-fifth of the U.S. youth population, but they lag behind non-Latino youth in academic achievement and graduation rates.
IRIS Educational Media has created a curriculum, Padres Preparados, that teaches parenting skills and stress reduction to Latino parents with children attending Head Start preschools. The development and testing of Padres Preparados was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and in partnership with Dr. Melanie Domenech Rodríguez, Professor of Psychology at Utah State University, who has been working with Latino families for many years.
Padres Preparados is a multi-media parenting curriculum for low income Spanish-speaking parents that targets seven evidence-based parenting skills to improve children’s school readiness and family well-being. It was developed by listening to Latino parents, Head Start staff, parent educators, policy makers and community-based social service agencies.
A research study was conducted to test the viability and efficacy of the curriculum over the most recent school year. Dr. Domenech Rodríguez trained Head Start teachers from Community Action Head Start in Salem, OR and Head Start of Yamhill County, OR. The teachers led classes one evening a week at their local Head Start schools. More than 70 parents participated in the classes and some brought their spouses. Parents watched videos, learned parenting skills and practiced the skills through role-playing exercises.
Feedback from Teachers and Parents
Ana Camacho, one of the Head Start teachers, said that all the teachers loved the training from the moment they got it. She said they have received other training curricula in Head Start, but nothing like this one. The Padres program helps teachers go through the classes step by step and they like that they can evolve the lesson plans as they go.
Parents reported that the skills they learned in the classes were very helpful and that their children behaved better when they used the skills. As the classes went on, parents shared more and bonded with each other and the teachers. Most of the participants were women, but gradually more husbands attended and participated in the classes.
Results from the Study
The evaluation study measured the effects of the Padres curriculum on parents’ knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavior related to parenting practices. The evidence found that the Padres program had significant effects on parents (general parenting self-efficacy, program specific self-efficacy, general parenting practices, program specific parenting practices, and knowledge) as well as children (increases in prosocial behaviors and decreases in hyperactive behaviors). The consumer satisfaction was also very positive (summary of these results will come in a follow-up email), with satisfaction on many items over 5.9 out of 6. The methodologist, Jordan Pennefather, says this is the highest consumer satisfaction rating he has seen for a program.
We are also satisfied with these results! The next step is to disseminate the program nationally with our partners at Head Start and other social service agencies so that it can bring together teachers, parents and their children, and lead to better family well-being. Buen trabajo!
Watch a video from Padres Preparados