Parents Plus Early Years Programme

An evidence-based parenting course promoting confidence, learning and positive behaviour in young children aged 1 to 6 years.

John Sharry, Grainne Hampson, Mary Fanning

Drawing on well-researched ideas about child development, and parent-child communication, the Parents Plus Early Years Programme is ideal for parents who want to maximise their children’s learning, language and social development, as well as reduce behaviour problems, while ensuring their children grow up happy and emotionally secure. The programme is suitable both for children within the normal range of development as well as children with special needs, such as ADHD, speech and language and other developmental difficulties.


  • Being a responsive parent
  • Child-centred play and communication
  • Supporting children’s self-esteem and confidence
  • Promoting children’s language and development
  • Helping children concentrate and learn
  • Building cooperation in young children
  • Establishing daily routines
  • Managing tantrums, misbehaviour and problems

Programme Materials PPEY covers

  • Two DVDs which contain three hours of footage containing over 80 real scenes of parenting situations, which are backed up by comments from professionals, parents and children.
  • A comprehensive Facilitator’s Manual which contains the full text of the DVDs, extensive background information, a full guide on how to prepare and run each session of the course, detailed group exercises, handouts and home work assignments.
  • Two parent booklets which contain all the handouts and worksheets for participants.
  • The package also comes with an accompanying parents’ book ‘Parenting Preschoolers and Young Children’ (Authors: John Sharry, Grainne Hampson, and Mary Fanning).

In running subsequent courses, additional parent booklets can be purchased at cost price by trained facilitators. Trained facilitators are also licensed to copy additional worksheets and handouts from parent booklets as needed.

Upcoming Training Programmes

Facilitator Materials

You may only purchase programme materials without training if you are a facilitator who already has been trained or belong to an agency with staff already trained. Please provide the name of the trained facilitator below.

Facilitator Details

Approximate date in which the course was attended:

Order Parent Booklets

  • EY Parents Book
    EY Parent Booklets Pack (contains 15 booklets)
    € 120
    per pack
  • EY Programme Materials
    € 500
    per pack
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The Parents Plus Early Years Programme is evidence-based and several studies attest to its effectiveness in clinical, preventative and community settings.

  • Clinical Setting: 

    In a large scale multi-site controlled outcome study of children aged 1 to 6 years (N = 81) and their parents, it was found that for families attending the Parents Plus Early Years Programme (PPEY) there was a:

    • Decrease in conduct problems and total difficulties and an increase in prosocial behaviour as measured by Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
    • Decrease in Parental Stress as measured by Parent Stress Scale.
    • Reduction in commands and increase in positive attends in the parent-child interaction as measured by independent before and after video observation.
    • Significant reduction of parent-defined problems and gains in parent-defined goals.

    Compared to those in the ‘treatment as usual’ group, parents in the PPEY group reported more significant reductions in their children’s behavioural problems post-intervention. There was no significant difference in benefit for children with developmental delay and children with behaviour problems primarily, suggesting that the PPEY programme is equally beneficial to both groups. Furthermore, positive gains were maintained at five month follow-up. The study has been been published by the International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (Griffin, Guerin, Sharry & Drumm, 2010) and the pilot study was published by Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Sharry, Guerin, Griffin & Drumm, 2005).

    Community Setting: 

    A pre and post community study of the PPEY programme delivered in highly disadvantaged junior schools (Kilroy, Sharry, Flood & Guerin, 2011) showed that a significant number of the 40 parents enrolled in the programme reported high levels of behavioural and emotional problems in their children pre-intervention (23% in the clinical range) suggesting the high need for these supports. Most encouraging though was the high impact of the PPEY groups – only 3% of children whose parents completed the course were found to be in the clinical range post PPEY, lending support for parenting groups in the community.

    Early Intervention Study:

    The PPEY Community Course was delivered as part of a suite of interventions to preschool childcare services in disadvantaged areas over several years. The programme was independently delivered and independently evaluated as part of a clustered randomised control trial (RCT). Significant positive effects were observed within the home learning environment for parents who completed the PPEY.

    ‘In particular, this finding isolates the Parents Plus Community Course as being a key component in improving the home-learning environment, even two years after the course was attended’ (Hayes, Siraj-Blatchford, Keegan & Goulding, 2012, p. 39).

    Universal Delivery:

    As one of the 10 national projects supported by the the National Early Years Access Initiative, the Parents Plus Community Course was rolled out to over 700 families in 35 different childcare services in North Dublin over a two year period. The resultant study (Gerber, Sharry, Streek & McKenna, 2016) involving the 277 parents who completed the course found that there were significant reductions in child behavior problems and parental stress from pre- to post-intervention. Most significantly, the courses successfully engaged disadvantaged families with significant problems (40% of sample) and these families benefited most overall. The results demonstrate the unique attributes and potential that preschool PPEY programmes can offer as a cost-effective and sustainable resource for early intervention with young children and their families. The study was published in the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal in 2016 (Volume 24 Issue 5).

    Qualitative Research:

    A short qualitative study by Griffin, Sharry, Guerin and Drumm (2006) describes parents’ reports of the main benefits of the PPEY group at follow-up. Group support was identified as the main benefit.

Facilitator Training

To run the Parents Plus Early Years Programme you need to attend the three-day facilitator training. This will take you step-by-step through the ideas and principles of the programme and will show you how to deliver the programme in clinical and community settings. Participants will be shown how to use strengths-based video feedback within individual parent-child sessions as well as how to facilitate solution-focused parent groups. Parents Plus also provides post-training supervision as part of an established Accreditation Process. For information on upcoming training for the Parents Plus Early Years Programme click here.

Manual Upgrade Guide

In November 2016, the Parents Plus Early Years Programme (PPEY) was updated and fourth editions of the Facilitator Manual and Parent Booklet were published. In addition, the original community six-week version of the PPEY will no longer be published separately.

  • If you are using an older edition of the full PPEY Facilitator Manual with the fourth edition of the Parent Booklet, please note the changes outlined in the document here.
  • If you are using the original community six-week version of the PPEY Facilitators Manual/booklet with the fourth edition of the Parent Booklet, please note the changes outlined in the document here.