The Incredible Years® Blog

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Invest in Kids continues their amazing support of Incredible Years® in Colorado

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The Incredible Years® implementation team at Invest In Kids

Invest In Kids continues to support quality implementation of Incredible Years® programs with sustainability and high fidelity throughout Colorado.  Thanks to Dr. Erin Albrecht, Data and Evaluation Manager at Invest in Kids for sharing their annual outcomes report with us!  Here are highlights from their annual statewide evaluation report.

teacher and puppet.jpgDuring the 2018-19  academic year, three of The Incredible Years® universal prevention components were offered across 21 counties in Colorado with the support of Invest in Kids – the Preschool Basic Parenting Program, Classroom Dina Child Prevention Program, and Teacher Classroom Management Program.  These program components were delivered in schools and community-based settings to 7,027 children, 492 educational staff, 73 Parent Program Facilitators, and 595 parents across 21 counties in Colorado with the support of Invest In Kids.  Invest In Kids evaluates all three program components annually in order to track outcomes, monitor fidelity to the program models, and ensure and support practice improvement for program implementers.


Preschool BASIC Parent Program

Numbers Served: 73 Parent Program Facilitators delivered the Preschool Basic Parenting Program to 595 parents across 51 unique parent groups in Colorado.

Outcomes: There was a significant increase from pre-test to post-test for parent’s Appropriate Discipline, Clear Expectations, and Positive Parenting, and a significant decrease from pre-test to post-test for parent’s Harsh Discipline and Inconsistent Discipline. There was also a significant increase in preschool-aged children’s Prosocial Communication, Emotion Regulation, and overall Social Competence, as reported by parents.


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Numbers Served: 464 teachers and education staff supported the delivery of Dinosaur School to 6,599 students.

Outcomes: There was a significant increase from pre-test to post-test for student’s Prosocial Communication, Emotion Regulation, Academic Skills, and overall Social Competence, as reported by teachers. In addition, there were significant increases from pre-test to post-test for all nine items that measured student progress on Dinosaur School social-emotional skills in the classroom.


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Numbers Served: 30 teachers were in classrooms that benefitted from training and coaching in TCM, and 428 students were in those classrooms.

Outcomes: There was a significant increase from pre-test to post-test for teacher’s use of Positive Management Strategies and Planning and Support. There was also a significant increase in student’s Prosocial Communication, Emotion Regulation, Academic Skills, and overall Social Competence, as reported by teachers.


Program Coaching and Fidelity

In addition to training, Invest In Kids provides regular coaching and monitors the quality of fidelity to the Incredible Years program components in order to ensure that implementers have the support they need to deliver IY as intended.  Fidelity to the IY model is critical to ensure that meaningful program outcomes are achieved, and to promote sustainability for IY in classrooms, schools, and communities across Colorado.

As part of this process, IIK consultants and community-based peer coaches complete three fidelity checklists across the year for first and second year implementers in Dinosaur School, and three fidelity checklists for teachers receiving TCM coaching. IIK consultants complete up to two fidelity checklists during the course of the 14-week Parent Program, depending on the facilitators’ level of support from IIK. In 2018-19, the average fidelity ratings for the IY classroom components showed significant improvement over time, and the average fidelity ratings for Parent Program were consistent between the first and second fidelity checklists.

Coaching visits by IIK consultants and peer coaches with implementers include:

  • Direct observation of implementers engaged in program delivery
  • Regular fidelity assessments to ensure that the core components of the IY curriculum are being followed
  • Collaborative goal setting with implementers
  • Targeted coaching for implementers to improve specific domains of practice
  • Discussion with implementers about implementation barriers and the creation of problem-solving strategies

Fidelity outcomes highlights include:

Dinosaur School

Fidelity: The average observed fidelity score showed a significant increase over time for both first and second year teachers.

Teacher Classroom Management (TCM)

Fidelity: The average observed fidelity score showed a significant increase over time for TCM teachers.

Preschool BASIC Parent Program

Fidelity: The average fidelity score was consistently high (above a three on a scale of one to five) between both checklists for Parent Program Facilitators receiving Level 1 and Level 2 coaching support.


Read the Invest In Kids 2018-2019 Outcomes report here





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Manchester CAPS celebrates 21 incredible years and wins two amazing awards!

Cheers to our Incredible Trainer, Dr. Caroline White, and her team at Manchester Children & Parents Service (CAPS).  The CAPS team is celebrating 21 years of dedicated work with families in Manchester.



On 22 June, CAPS received two awards from the UK’s largest children’s hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Foundation Trust.

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CAPS was awarded Clinical Team of the Year 2019, and at the end of the evening received further recognition with the Our Family Caring For Yours Award.

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The awards acknowledge CAPS’ outstanding work and said their “holistic approach to working with whole families in a multi-agency team ensure they give their families the absolute best service. Their commitment to evidence based work was highly commendable.”



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Texas LAUNCH – Excellence in IY Implementation

Project LAUNCH is a national initiative to promote the wellness of young children from birth to 8 years of age by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development.  We are pleased to share an update on Texas LAUNCH, which has been working hard to support high fidelity implementation of Incredible Years in Texas!

  • by Holly Gursslin, Senior Project Coordinator, Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health

Texas LAUNCH has embraced the Incredible Years as a valuable, culturally adaptive and evidence-based program that meets families where they are and creates a community of empathic, engaged, and empowered parents. Texas LAUNCH has been supporting several cities and communities with implementation of the Incredible Years Parenting Program by sponsoring certified IY trainers to come and teach on the Basics Model, the Babies Model and the Home Visiting model. These models have been utilized by Home Visiting programs, Childcare/Pre-K Centers, Parent Education organizations, Mental Health Community providers, state leaders, and tribal communities.


Texas LAUNCH Team, from left to right: Zatara Lumen, Molly Lopez, Holly Gursslin Beseda, Diane Ewing, & Arnold Amador. Not pictured: team members Audrey Young & Carolina Gonzalez

Texas LAUNCH recognized implementing a program goes beyond training. Below are several strategies used to support professional development, implementation, and sustainability:

  • The Incredible Years certified trainers came to Texas 5 times throughout the time of the grant to train group leaders broadly across the state. Texas LAUNCH staff came to every training to support IY Trainers with logistics, provide examples of current practices, engage group members, and assist participants with creating a community;
  • We partnered with the Incredible Years program to offer consultation calls with community leaders to address successes and barriers which allowed new leaders to ask questions directly of their trainers around fidelity, challenges and teaching strategies;
  • We hosted Community of Learner calls where all trained IY providers across Texas were welcomed to participate in a peer to peer learning format addressing every day agency implementation strategies, class formats, and marketing opportunities;
  • We created a statewide Family Strengthening Workgroup that focused on creating common language for marketing and a quick study of all evidence-based parent programs in the state. Additionally, the purpose of this group was to garner interest and investment in the IY program within services that already exist across the state;
  • All group leaders trained by LAUNCH were also offered technical assistance to support implementation, fidelity and sustainability by the state LAUNCH team;
  • We offered to support a few group leaders, who showed interest/investment, in becoming certified;
  • We created a Lunch and Learn for State Program staff to meet with IY certified trainers and increase engagement and investment, answer questions about state implementation and curriculum purchasing and long-term support;
  • We maintain our relationship with IY trainers to work toward fidelity, answer research questions and share upcoming and new information with group leaders.

Implementing the IY program takes education, planning, creative marketing, consistency, and time. Two best practices that have assisted with successful implementation in Texas includes offering childcare and food during classes and providing constant and consistent support to parent educators within their organizations. Texas will continue to support and implement best practice parenting education programs while working to build on the wonderful relationship with the Incredible Years staff and trainers.

Please visit their website to learn more about Texas LAUNCH.

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Manchester CAPS highlighted in House of Commons report on early intervention

Caroline White.jpgHappy 21st Birthday CAPS! The Children And Parents’ Service in Manchester is one of the longest sustainable implementations of Incredible Years in the world.

Following IY Trainer Caroline White’s appointment as Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology on Early Intervention, the committee has published it’s report, highlighting CAPS’ implementation of Incredible Years parenting groups as a model example of early intervention services.

The committee writes:

The Children and Parents Service (CAPS) in Manchester has been identified by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a service that has achieved success in recognising and managing antisocial behaviour and conduct disorders in children and young people. CAPS is a jointly commissioned, multi-agency, early intervention service for pre-school children and their families. The service identifies early social and emotional problems in pre-school children, provides thorough psychological assessment for them and then offers intervention as appropriate. Families can be initially referred to the CAPS service from multi-agency staff across the early years workforce; CAPS psychologists provide one day training to frontline staff to improve communication across the workforce and establish referral pathways as well as to develop a consistent approach to parent support strategies across the workforce. CAPS also conducts outreach work to raise awareness and engage with local families. Referred families are assessed using the Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Abidin Parenting Stress Index as standardised and validated outcome tools to measure child behaviour problems, parental depression and parental stress respectively, as well as the ‘Index of Need’ tool to identify families at risk of developing any of these problems. Where families meet the thresholds for intervention, CAPS uses the ‘Incredible Years’ Parent Programmes, a series of evidence-based interventions which focus on:

  • strengthening parenting competencies to improve the parent-child relationship; 
  • promoting children’s academic, emotional and social skills; and 
  • reducing conduct problems. 

CAPS additionally provides ‘wrap-around’ support to help families complete the courses, such as the provision of childcare or interpreting services, and aims to offer seamless access to other services from which families would benefit. 

High parent retention rates are achieved by the programme, with around 81% completing it. As well as reducing the prevalence of clinical conditions and the proportion of families at risk of developing clinical problems, the programme was found to also help parents engage in work or education. Three months after completing the course, 24% of parents were back in work, 21% were attending college and 10% were doing voluntary work.

Between September 2017 and August 2018, CAPS delivered 75 Incredible Years parent courses to approximately 989 parents of 0–4 year olds. The impact of these interventions, as determined by the proportions of families in the clinical ranges for each of the outcome measures before and after the intervention, are shown in table below.

Impact of CAPS intervention on clinical conditions and risk factors 

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Cheers to Dr. Caroline White and the Manchester CAPS team!

Read the full report at:  House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2018). Evidence-based Early Years Intervention. London: House of Commons.  

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Meet our new puppets!

  • Message from Carolyn (Wally and Molly’s grandmother)

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Dina and Felicity

You may already have enjoyed using our Dina Dinosaur puppets made by Axtell Expressions, Inc. Now we have worked with Axtell to design new Incredible Years child puppets just for us. We love them because they have lifelike skin materials and latex heads, great hair styles, bigger hand glove grip areas and are readily available, with a very short wait time for custom manufacture. Here are a few things we want you to know that will make your puppet child feel happy.


Check out a video with our new Wally and Dina Dinosaur!


Dressing Your Child Puppet

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Wally & Molly

Your Incredible Years puppets love 2nd hand clothes that other children have worn because then they know they are cool. Their shirt size is medium and pants are toddler size 4. Shoe size is about 4-5, but other sizes work too. If you have a uniform in your school, the puppets proudly wear the school uniform and follow the dress code so they can fit in with their friends. Also the puppets love to wear sports team shirts from your local team. If they are in a class where children are wearing clothes for religious or cultural reasons, like the hijab or yarmulke, they like to wear what others are wearing in order to be respectful of the beliefs in the classroom they are visiting.


Using Your Puppet


Luciana & Antonio

In general you want your puppet’s eyes on the children with head tilted downward. You can make your puppet seem more engaging and life-like with head and arm movements. Help your puppet speak by moving his mouth, especially the lower jaw keeping the upper jaw still. You can use your own voice or make up a voice especially for your puppet. You don’t need to be an expert puppeteer. As long as you are playful and having fun, the children will be mesmerized and will love the puppet. You can name your puppet yourself or you can use the Wally Detective Book names of the puppets such as Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners or Freddy and Felicity Feelings. Your puppet will respond to love and humor and is comfortable expressing his or her feelings about life events.


Introducing Your Puppet to the Children


Freddy & Felicity

Teacher/Therapist: I wanted to introduce you to a new friend who will join us sometimes in our groups.

Puppet: Hi there, I am … e.g., Felicity Feelings, or Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners. I am so glad you decided to adopt me as I was looking for a warm, loving school to belong to and I am eager to make some friends, although a bit nervous about that.

Teacher/Therapist: Can you tell us something about yourself.

Puppet: I am 5 years old and just moved here with my mother and my dog. I hope you will like me. How do you like my hair? Do you think I will make friends here?

Teacher/Therapist: We are all friendly here and happy to have you. Your hair is very cool. I am sure you will feel less nervous when you get to know everyone. Could someone say something nice to welcome our puppet friend?

Children: We are glad you’re here. Or, I want to be your friend?

Teacher: See, these children want to get to know you. What do you like to do?

Puppet: Well I love to play baseball but I am worried because I can’t read yet.

Teacher/Therapist: How many other kids here like baseball?

Children: (put up their hands)

Teacher/Therapist: Many other kids are just learning to read too. So we will read together and you will have friends who can help you too.  You will learn to read just like you learned to play baseball.

Puppet: I already feel less nervous and lucky you invited me to be here.  I am so excited to meet everyone and learn what they like to do.

More information on our puppets is available on our website.







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Incredible News from the Holy Child Program in Palestine

  • from the Holy Child Program Quarterly Report
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Building Our Turtle Shell

This quarter, students finished their unit on problem-solving and started learning about anger management with “Tiny Turtle” in Dina Dinosaur school. As part of the process the students enjoyed building a new turtle shell for school, (our old one finally fell apart). Next they learned how to withdraw into their own shell and calm down. Every student practiced the calm down skills and generating positive solutions. Their classmates were available to coach and congratulate them as they practiced!The students’ homework was to use these skills at home with their friends and family.

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The finished masterpiece!

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Practicing Calm Down Skills

One student told his mother that “Dina Dinosaur school teaches us how to express our feelings.” He shared a specific example of how he used his new skills with his sister. He said: “ I feel hurt when my sister calls me ‘buns’ (fat) and she feels hurt when I call her ‘loser’ My solution is to stop calling her ‘loser’ so she will stop calling me ‘buns’. The mother, needless to say, was thrilled and surprised by her son’s new skills!


One of the HCP teachers shared how surprised she was when one of her students told her he used to be “very naughty” and frequently made “problems” at his previous schools. His teacher told him it was very hard to believe because he was so well behaved at HCP. The student replied; “That’s because you have rules here and Dina School!


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Our Incredible Mothers

In December our mothers from the Group of Peace received certificates for completing the units on positive attention and special time. The group leaders commented on how dedicated this group of mothers is. They are always on time, come with all their homework completed and rarely miss a group. Feedback from the mothers is equally positive. All of the mothers said they had learned to be more patient with their children. Several mothers said they learned to calm down and communicate more with their children. Others identified that they “learned to understand their children’s feelings and how to share their opinions.” One mother shared, “After I thought about the way I raised my children I found that I made many mistakes, but Mothers group (The Incredible Years program) taught me how to deal with my children. I learned how important ‘special time’ is.” The mothers unanimously agreed that talking to other mothers in the group and collaborating with each other was extremely helpful.

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Role Playing How to Coach Children in Mothers Group


Visit the Holy Child Program website to read the full report.

Carolyn Webster-Stratton traveled to the West Bank to see the Incredible Years® implementation at the Holy Child Program (certified by the Palestinian Ministry of Education). They implement Incredible Years® Parent, Teacher, and Child programs. Watch this powerful video of the time Dr. Webster-Stratton spent in West Bank, and interviews with group leaders using the program!

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IY Mentor Jane Davidson’s project a finalist for a 2018 Children & Young People Now Award



Jane Davidson with accredited parent group leader Helen Shorrocks

Our incredible Mentor Jane Davidson’s project with Dorset County Council to deliver the Incredible Beginnings® program was recently a finalist to receive a 2018 Children & Young People Now award.

In their consideration for the award, the Dorset County Council team describes that as a result of the project they have found “improved children’s social and emotional development, improved relationships between parents and children, improvement confidence in practitioners, reduction in challenging behaviour.”

Watch a video testimonial the Dorset County Council team has put together, featuring participant reflections on the Incredible Beginnings® course.

Jane and her colleague Clare Williams are currently delivering their 5th and 6th courses of the Incredible Beginnings program with early years providers in Dorset.

Cheers to Jane’s continued success bringing the Incredible Beginnings® program to teachers of young children in Dorset!