Preparing for Life (PFL) is a community-led prevention and early intervention programme that is operated by the Northside Partnership (NSP) in Dublin, Ireland. PFL aims to improve levels of school readiness of young children from several designated disadvantaged areas of North Dublin, by intervening during pregnancy and working with families until the children start school. The PFL Programme is a home visiting programme whose purpose is to improve documented low levels of school readiness by assisting parents in developing skills to help prepare their children for school. As such, the PFL Programme operates under a holistic definition of school readiness composed of five dimensions including: 1) physical well-being and motor development; 2) social and emotional development; 3) approaches to learning; 4) language development and emergent literacy; and 5) cognitive development and general knowledge.
The PFL programme was evaluated between 2008 and 2015 by the UCD Geary Institute at University College Dublin to provide evidence on the effectiveness of the PFL programme to positively impact on parent and child outcomes. The PFL Programme was evaluated using a mixed methods approach. An impact evaluation was used to determine whether the PFL Programme had an impact on parent and child outcomes for the duration of the intervention, and data was collected on children’s physical health and motor skills, social and emotional development, and behaviour, learning, literacy and language development, and on mother’s pregnancy behaviours, physical and psychological health, cognitive ability, personality, and parenting skills from pregnancy onwards. This quantitative data is available via the ISSDA (https://www.ucd.ie/issda). A process evaluation was also conducted to investigate perceptions of PFL using qualitative interviews with PFL participants (parents) and PFL staff members at 6 months and at 24 months; and at 36 months with the children that participated in the programme. This qualitative material is available via the IQDA in the form of interview transcripts.