The Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) is delighted to have secured the prestigious Marie Sklodowska – Curie Actions (MSCA) grant enabling us to undertake state of the art research on Parental Engagement and Relationships in Early Childhood (PEAR) starting in May 2020 to conclude in April 2022.

Project Overview

The Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) is currently testing a model to improve children’s outcomes by integrating Parental Support (PS) within Early Childhood services in Tallaght, a community in Dublin, where 45% of children live in designated disadvantaged/very disadvantaged areas, and 20% of parents have not completed formal education beyond primary school. CDI’s model supports parents and carers by placing a dedicated parent/carer facilitator (PCF) within Early Childhood services. This project will evaluate the impact of the CDI model at three levels: i) Service – Early Childhood professionals’ relationships with parents; ii) Parents - engagement in children’s learning; psychological distress; 3) Children - school readiness; analysing effects by family characteristics (socioeconomic factors) and programme dosage. The characteristics of the PS models associated with successful engagement and outcomes are still unclear. For this reason, it is important to study the implementation of PS programmes in order to understand what works best and for whom.

Research Funding

This research project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under a Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant. The lead researcher is Dr Catarina Leitão, social psychologist. Dr. Laito will be hosted at the Childhood Development Initiative under the direction of the CEO, Marian Quinn. 

Trinity College Dublin is the partner organisation for this research study through the co-supervision support of Professor Noirín Hayes of the School of Education. Professor Hayes has previously worked directly with CDI on a number of projects, as Principal Investigator for the evaluation of CDI’s Early Years Programme (2014) and SLT Intervention (2015).