About Getting Ready

Getting Ready is a strengths-based program that enhances school readiness for children birth to age five who are growing up in poverty. It focuses on strengthening relationships between parents and their children, as well as parents and their children’s caregivers. Getting Ready supports families through an individualized, culturally sensitive approach in both home and center-based settings.

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How it works

The Getting Ready program is a process of interacting with families that happens during all exchanges, including home visits, conferences and informal interactions. Getting Ready is not a curriculum or stand-alone program. It is an intentional approach that encourages parental engagement in all aspects of early childhood development, while building on culturally relevant strengths for both parents and children.

To learn this approach, early childhood educators participate in formal training that helps them blend developmental objectives with effective parent-child interactions. These educators also receive ongoing coaching as they implement research-based strategies and collaborative problem-solving.

The outcome? Families and educators work together to set goals that support children’s development.


Research results point to the positive effects of the Getting Ready program on children’s school readiness and family engagement. Compared to peers in a control group, preschool children in the Getting Ready group had improved:

  • Social-emotional competencies, including enhanced levels of attachment behavior with adults, increases in self-initiative, and reductions in anxiety and withdrawal behaviors.
  • Self-regulation, including declines in overactive behaviors. Additionally, positive affect and verbalizations improved among children whose mothers reported elevated levels of depression.
  • Language and early literacy skills, including an improvement in expressive language among children identified as having a developmental concern.

Research also indicates that Getting Ready is effective at improving parenting behaviors known to support positive child outcomes. Compared to peers in a control group, parents in the Getting Ready group:

  • Interacted with their children using a greater degree of warmth and sensitivity.
  • Demonstrated more skills to support their children’s autonomy.
  • Provided more support for their children’s learning.
  • Offered their children more guidance and directives.

Finally, research shows that the Getting Ready program is reliably implemented—according to observed behaviors of home visitors and teachers during their interactions with families— and is viewed favorably by early childhood professionals.

Getting Ready Child