This project is a randomized efficacy trial of the KITS Program, an intervention to improve early literacy, prosocial and emotion and behavior regulation domains of school readiness, with children from socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The project will extend the evidence on the efficacy of the intervention from two previous randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program with special needs populations to examine the impacts of the intervention on the broader population of children from disadvantaged backgrounds in general education. Two hundred forty children and their families will be recruited into the project and randomly assigned to participate in the KITS Program or services as usual. Children and their families will participate in assessments at four time points: spring prior to kindergarten, immediately prior to kindergarten entry, kindergarten fall, and kindergarten spring; 160 of the children will also be assessed in the spring of first grade. This project may allow us to improve school readiness outcomes for children and improve their school adjustment.Year Project Began: 2012
Funder: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
Katherine C. Pears, Ph.D.
Oregon Social Learning Center
Active Research Projects
- Kids in Transition to School – Developmental Disabilities Follow-up
- Translational Drug Abuse Prevention (TDAP)
- Kids in Transition to School (KITS) – Promise Neighborhoods
Primary Research and Clinical Interests
Dr. Pears studies a number of early childhood predictors of behavioral and social problems with the goal of developing preventive interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of early adverse circumstances (including maltreatment and poverty) on children’s social and academic development. She has studied the school readiness skills and early school adjustment of high-risk children with a particular focus on self-regulatory skills. Additionally, Dr. Pears has examined longer term indicators of school adjustment in children at risk for poor school outcomes, including how school adjustment is transmitted from one generation to the next. She has translated this research into an intervention to improve the school readiness skills of children at high risk for poor academic and social adjustment: the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program. She is the principal investigator on three randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program including maltreated children in foster care, children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral or social problems, and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, Dr. Pears is co-investigator on a 10-year longitudinal, three generation study examining intergenerational transmission of antisocial behavior and substance abuse in a group of high-risk men and their families.