Parents and the family and home environment play a central role in the early learning and development of infants and children. A range of interventions exist to support parents and families, particularly in situations where the family is vulnerable and/or where the infant or child may be at risk of delays in learning or development. The first five years of life present a critical window of opportunity for learning and development and they lay the foundation for learning and readiness for school.
This Evidence Brief focuses on outcomes defined in the Australian Early Development Census, which collects data about key areas of early childhood development (known as ‘domains’). The Social competence domain includes overall social competence, responsibility and respect, approaches to learning, and readiness to explore new things.
The Evidence Brief summarises the findings of a review of systematic reviews. Using this rigorous methodology, the review found good support for the use of parenting education programs such as The Incredible Years, Triple P, and Behavioural Parent Training for improving social outcomes children. Research suggests parent involvement in interventions, including parent-mediated or delivered interventions, should be encouraged. Benefits appear to be greater for younger rather than older children. There was also evidence that a greater benefit comes from professionals rather than peers or non-professionals as providers of home visiting interventions.