Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Katie C. Hart

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Daniel Bagner

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Laura Dinehart

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Paulo Graziano

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


child psychology, clinical psychology, school psychology

Date of Defense



The transition into the early school years is a salient developmental milestone, which lays the groundwork for later school success. Parent involvement in children’s development and early learning experiences has been widely examined and identified as a strong predictor of children’s school readiness. Therefore, promoting positive parent involvement during the early school years and during developmental transitions is key to children’s later school success. Recognizing the importance of early school success, several programs have been developed to support children and families in the transition to kindergarten. Yet, as early as preschool, a number of children display significant behavioral and academic difficulties, placing them at risk for later school failure. Specifically, young children living in poverty, are at an increased risk for behavioral and academic problems. Given that children’s school readiness skills, especially academic achievement, remain relatively stable after the first years of school underscores the importance of intervening earlier, before problems arise. Thus, enhancing parents’ skills and supports in promoting school readiness in young children during earlier key transitions to school may bolster later school readiness. With the outbreak of COVID-19, increases in financial insecurity, psychological distress, and disruptions to typical school have been widely observed. Although COVID-19 has pervasive impact, families of ethnic minority backgrounds and of low-income have been particularly vulnerable during this crisis. Moreover, the shift to virtual schooling further increased the demands placed on parents, further highlighting the need to support families in preparation for their transition back to schools, in an effort to prevent further difficulties related to children’s school readiness and social-emotional well-being. Using a randomized design (n=30; 15 families per condition) with structured observations and assessments (pre-and post-intervention and 3-month follow-up), this study aimed to: (1) Adapt a school readiness parenting program for families transitioning from Early Head Start (EHS) to HS; (2) Investigate the acceptability and feasibility of the program delivered via telehealth; and (3) Evaluate the initial efficacy of the program in improving positive parental involvement, home learning, and children’s social-emotional outcomes. Results from the randomized trial and implications for future development and dissemination will be discussed.







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