Implementing a Parenting Curriculum Using Implementation Science: Initial Implementation Stage

This resource is part of a series developed to support programs in successfully implementing a parenting curriculum. In this resource, learn about the initial implementation stage of implementation science.

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Initial Implementation Stage Key Tasks

The initial implementation stage is a time to deliver the new parenting curriculum. Programs may test the delivery of the curriculum and make any enhancements before launching it as part of regular program operations. In this stage, programs identify and test such critical elements as key processes, supports, and data collection and use.

Adjust work plan. Engage the implementation team to review and update the work plan. Ensure that all team members are trained and prepared for group decision-making, problem solving, and data use for the new curriculum.

Review and adjust the implementation team membership, as needed. Consider who is on the team. What range of skills and perspectives are needed for this stage? Have any of the team roles and responsibilities changed? Do you need to add new members?

Consider perspectives inside and outside of the program. Are parents part of the team? Are staff perspectives represented? Is there a need to engage the curriculum developer or a consultant to address any issues?

Identify critical elements for implementation. “Critical elements” are those aspects of delivering the curriculum that you want to pay special attention to. These may include the content of the parenting curriculum, the facilitation process, organizational supports, or ways to collect feedback from the group. These elements may be critical to the success of the effort, or they may be the most difficult to execute.

Decide at this point what outcomes you will measure, and how. Make a plan to determine how you will measure the fidelity to the curriculum implementation.

Complete a trial run. Deliver a few sessions, or try out the curriculum with a small group. Use the small test runs to assess your critical elements. You are likely to identify problems and discover solutions.

Initial Implementation Stage Checklist

  • Adjust work plan
  • Review and adjust implementation team membership, as needed
  • Identify critical elements for implementation
  • Complete a trial run
  • Use Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to improve delivery
  • Launch the curriculum as part of regular programming
  • Collect data for internal monitoring and assessment
  • Continue to make improvements

Use Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to improve delivery. Use a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle to help you test these solutions and make improvements.

Plan-Do-Study-Act for Improvement Cycles

After your team completes this cycle, review your data and feedback. Were the results what the team expected? Consider adjusting your plan, your assessment tools or procedures, as necessary. Several Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles may be needed to find all of the challenges and create solutions to address them.

Launch the curriculum as part of regular programming. Now it’s time to deliver the curriculum as part of your regular program operations.

Collect data for monitoring and assessment. Throughout the process, the team monitors activities closely and makes sure that accurate information is recorded regularly. The team reviews the data frequently to examine trends—for example, monthly in the first year, and then quarterly. Is the process for delivering the curriculum working? Are you seeing the results you expected? Are you satisfied?

Continue to make improvements. As you implement the curriculum, the team will continue to collect data, test, and refine the delivery of the curriculum. These activities overlap and continue over the five-year project period.  

Consider ways to strengthen systems to support the success of the curriculum. There may be organizational policies that need to be changed. The implementation team may recommend adjustments to training or coaching practices, or point out partnerships that need strengthening. The team may also reach out to a consultant or the curriculum developer to share feedback about ways to enhance the delivery of the curriculum.

The focus of initial implementation is on trying out critical elements of the parenting intervention, trouble-shooting any problems, and testing any necessary changes in preparation for the next stage of implementation: full implementation.

Implementing a Parenting Curriculum Using Implementation Science Series 

Explore other resources in this series:

Additional Resources

The Active Implementation Hub—Designing a Fidelity Assessment System: Identifying Challenges and Strategies

Evidence-Based Prevention and Intervention Support Center: Fidelity Observation Tools 

Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation

National Implementation Research Network’s (NIRN) Active Implementation Hub— Modules

National Implementation Research Network’s (NIRN) Active Implementation Hub—Resource Library Listing

National Implementation Science Network—Stages of Implementation Analysis: Where Are We?

New York State Department of Health: Plan-Do-Study-Act Worksheet 

State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-Based Practices (SISEP) Center

Adapted from Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation.

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Keywords:Parenting curriculum

Resource Type: Publication

Last Updated: January 7, 2019