Early Words is designed to enhance children’s early language and literacy development through providing training and mentoring to child care providers serving young children (ages 0–5 years). The proposed evaluation used a multi-method approach to collect information about program implementation, immediate benefits of training, and training outcomes, including provider practices and child outcomes. The study involved three key components:
Component 1 collected information using surveys and observations to address questions such as the content of the trainings, trainer characteristics (credibility, communication style, presentation quality), provider knowledge gained during training, provider motivations for participation in the program, and perceptions of the granting and mentoring processes.
Component 2 involved intensive observations of provider environments and provider-child interactions to collect information about the extent to which providers were able to translate information and knowledge gained through training into practice.
Component 3 assessed the effects of the quality of literacy environments for children receiving care in environments in which there is higher vs. lower quality literacy support. Research has shown that children exposed to high-quality, literacy-supportive environments show more emergent literacy development (e.g., familiarity with letters and book), and thus, that interventions focused on changing provider environments and behaviors are important for laying the foundation for later literacy and language development.