With sponsorship of Lo Ying Shek Chi Wai Foundation, the Department of Applied Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), and the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) have developed the HOPE-20 training programme for parents of two-year-old children. This is one of the first locally-developed evidence-based parent education programmes for such young children.
The study titled "The efficacy of the HOPE-20 programme for parents of 2-year-old children" was jointly completed by Professor Cynthia Leung, Department of Applied Social Sciences, PolyU, and Dr Sandra Tsang JP, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU. The study evaluated the efficacy of the HOPE-20 programme for parents of 2-year-old children, using a randomized controlled trial design. The results indicated that completion of the HOPE-20 programme generated significant improvement in the children's mastery of preschool concepts and language skills, reduced the children's behaviour problems, lowered the stress of their parents, and fostered the parents' sense of competence.
HOPE-20 is a parent education programme conducted through 20 two-hour group sessions designed for parents of two-year-old children. The content included strategies to enhance parent-child relationship, promote child learning and language, and strategies to increase positive behaviour and manage inappropriate behaviour. Each session consisted of mini-lectures, discussion, and role play. Parents must complete five-minute daily activities with their children between sessions. The programme was delivered by trained social workers in nursery schools.
The programme was locally developed and fine-tuned after a pilot test. A randomized controlled trial was then conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the programme. A total of 173 parents of two-year-old children from 18 nursery schools participated in the study and were randomly assigned into the intervention group, or the wait-list control group, which received the intervention only after the comparison study was completed. The intervention group included 110 participants from 10 nursery schools. At post-intervention, it was found that the children of the intervention group participants showed significant improvements in their mastery of preschool concepts and language skills. The intervention group participants reported fewer child behaviour problems, lower parental stress and higher parenting sense of competence.
Professor Cynthia Leung says, "The results indicated that HOPE-20 was an effective universal parent training programme, bringing benefits to both the parents and their children." Dr Sandra Tsang adds, "Though we ask parents to spend more time with their children, they do not necessarily know how to interact with their children. The HOPE-20 programme provides a concrete and practical set of activities." With policy support and close collaboration with social services centres, the team hopes nursery schools territory-wide will adopt this programme to enhance the development of young children and the competence of their parents.
Sponsored by the Lo Ying Shek Chi Wai Foundation, the HOPE-20 project team is offering three training workshops for practitioners in the field, including psychologists, health professionals, social workers, and early childhood educators. Upon completion of the compulsory sessions, participants will be eligible to collect the programme manual and relevant materials and deliver the HOPE-20 programme in their work settings.
Dr Lo Ka Shui, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Foundation, says, "Although the design of this parental training programme may have just ended, this is only the beginning of a long endeavor. We hope NGOs and district groups will continue to refine the parental training programme and proactively incorporate parental training into their services. At the same time, we are advocating for the Government to increase its investment in this area, so as to make parental training a core component of early childhood development and facilitate the introduction of parental training to all nurseries in Hong Kong."
Ms Christine Fang BBS JP, Chief Executive of The Hong Kong Council of Social Service, adds, "Early intervention is the key to resolving many family issues. The HOPE-20 programme provides an opportunity for social workers to get in closer touch with parents of young children and help them develop healthy parenting habits and attitudes."
The Lo Ying Shek Chi Wai Foundation was formally established in May 2010 in memory of Mr. Lo Ying Shek (1912-2006), one of the most respected Hong Kong businessmen in real estate development and investment. He was the Chairman and Managing Director of the Great Eagle Group of Companies from its founding in 1963 until his passing in 2006. The first Chairman of the Foundation is Dr Lo Ka Shui, a trained cardiologist, with an established track record in hotel and real estate industries.
With firm belief that children are the pillars of our future, the Foundation aims to help children reach their full potential by facilitating the promotion, delivery, and advocacy of the provision of holistic childcare programmes. The early years (0-6 years) of children have been recognized as the most important period in the formation of their intelligence, personalities and social behaviours. Therefore, the Foundation dedicates itself to Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) as one of its major areas of focus. The Foundation is also interested in Healthcare Development and Education.
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