Research / BFI Working PaperJul 28, 2022

Engaging Parents with Preschools: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Head Start and other publicly supported preschools are required to spend substantial funds promoting family engagement, which is a key element of improving child skills. Yet, parent engagement with preschools tends to be low. To increase parental attendance at school-sponsored family-engagement events, we conducted a 17-week RCT with 319 parents across six preschools in Chicago. We offered treatment parents a loss-framed incentive of $25 per event and text message reminders. Results show that the treatment increased the likelihood of attending an event by 28%. Treated parents were also more likely to attend unincentivized events, which is consistent with habit formation.

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