The Incredible Years® Blog


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Gardstunet Barnehage School in Norway uses Puppets to Engage Children

At the Gardstunet Barnehage School in Norway, Incredible Years implementation is incorporated into children’s daily activities. This includes a teacher whose full time duty is to “be” the Molly puppet used in IY! Molly accompanies the students throughout the day and encourages the different concepts taught in Incredible Years (such as problem solving, coping strategies, social skills, and being gentle). We previously wrote about this school when Dr. Webster-Stratton went for a visit earlier this year.

Here are two videos from a day in the life at the Gardstunet Barnehage school. Watch as Molly helps the children feed horses and play on a swing set. (The videos are in Norwegian, but even if you don’t understand the language, it still clearly shows the children are interacting with Molly and how the teacher facilitates their positive interactions!)

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Incredible Years Implementation in Hong Kong

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Maureen Kong received her doctorate from the University of Hong Kong in August 2014.

Her dissertation was an evaluation of the Incredible Years BASIC Parenting Program in a community clinic setting in Hong Kong. Parents of 52 preschool children with developmental delays were randomly assigned to either the IY program or waitlist control.

Assessments included self and spouse reports and video coding of parent-child interactions.  

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Results indicated significantly more frequent positive parent-child interactions during observed structured play, reports of less parental stress, improvements in parenting practices according to spouses/kin, and fewer child oppositional behaviors by parents and spouses/kin. Parent attendance rate and program and satisfaction was high.  

This paper is currently under review. Once it has been published it will be included in our research library.


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Magical Visit to Bergen Norway and Fjell Where Children, Teachers and Parents are Supported (Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton)

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Children Singing at Incredible Years Conference

While visiting Norway for the European IY Networking Meeting, Bjorn Brunborg (IY parent mentor) and Marianne Gjerstad (IY Dina teacher and peer coach) took me on a field trip to Fjell to see two Kindergarten Schools. In Norway, kindergarten Schools are available for children ages 1 to 5 years.

Knappskog Barnehage School

Knappskog Barnehage School

This beautiful school opened 7 years ago and is nestled in the side of a mountain. It has an outdoor play area surrounded by rocky hillsides which the children are allowed to explore. The glass fence around the play area has pictures drawn on it by children as well as the Incredible Years logo! This logo originally was drawn by my daughter when she was 4 years old so it is exciting to see her art alongside some Norwegian children’s art. Looking out at the rocky mountain I can almost image trolls waiting to play with the children.

Principal Anette Kaland and Carolyn

Principal Anette Kaland and Carolyn

At this school there are 57 children and 28 of these are toddlers (ages 1 to 3 years). In the toddler classrooms there are 2 preschool teachers and 2 assistants for 14 children. The children start school as young as one year of age beginning in August and they stay there from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The principal Anette Kaland had taken the IY Teacher Classroom Management Program many years earlier when her daughter attended this school. The school has a wonderful warm and calming atmosphere and I think that I would like to work here with these children, teachers and trolls.

Gardstunet Barnehage

Gardstunet Barnehage

The next school is located on a farm and is what I imagine Old McDonald’s farm to look like with a large, red barn, many animals and children playing happily. It is surrounded by a beautiful hillside and forests where the children can also explore. Even though the day is cold (freezing temperatures) the children are outside, dressed in their snow suits and playing happily. I see that Willy Problem Solver (managed by teacher Sonja Pedersen) is also dressed in heavy clothes and a warm hat and is playing with the other children. Willy and a group of 5-year-old girls grab me by the hand to take me on a guided tour. I discover that Willy and Molly (managed by teacher Heidi Valen) are constant companions of the school’s children, modeling and encouraging problem solving, communication and emotional regulation. This school has 4 age-groups of children – 10 toddlers (1-3 years of age), 15 children (mixed ages 1-4 years), 12 preschoolers (4-5 years) and 19 early school age children (4-6 years).

 Certified Preschool Teacher Kristina Bergsvlle and Heidi Iren Vatne, Manager

Certified Preschool Teacher Kristina Bergsvlle and Heidi Iren Vatne, Manager

In the first three younger age groups the teachers who were trained in the IY Teacher Training Program model verbal and nonverbal communication methods, guide children with emotional, social and pre-academic coaching, and provide constant positive attention for positive behaviors. The teachers in the older children’s group also deliver the Dinosaur Curriculum lessons twice a week. These teachers took the first Dinosaur teacher training delivered in Norway in 2007 and are accredited in delivery of the dinosaur program. They have incorporated Dinosaur concepts throughout the day for the children. Every month they focus on one of the Dinosaur program themes. In one classroom I notice how children earn small Wally Problem Solver picture coins for sharing, helping and taking turns. When they get 5 of these coins they can trade them in for a Dinosaur foot. When the class earns 19 dinosaur feet they get to choose a class reward – this class has chosen an ice cream party. Another class has selected a slumber party in the hay for their classroom reward. I also want to work at this school and be a child again! I meet with one of the accredited preschool teachers, Kristina Bergsvile and the administration manager, Heidi Iren Vatne, who show me a video of how the children are teaching Molly to feed the horses hay and later how to jump in the hay and participate in their cooperative play. They tell me all new teachers get IY training and that they participate in teacher booster sessions yearly to keep their motivation high. It is a magical place. (Stay tuned for a new IY YouTube video of this event)

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I end the tour at the Town Hall and meet a group of accredited IY teacher peer coaches for the IY parent, teacher and child programs.

Fjel Parent, Teacher and Child Peer Coaches

Fjell Parent, Teacher and Child Peer Coaches

I am greeted by Steinar Nesse who is the Chief Executive and has energetically supported the roll out of these training programs for at least 13 kindergartens.

They train 3 new kindergarten schools each year and will start another 3 in August. Over 400 kindergarten teachers have been trained in IY teacher and child programs. The peer coaches provide intensive support in the first year of IY training and start the first 2 months delivering the Dina program together with them. Gradually they decrease their time in the classroom letting the teachers deliver the Dina lessons more independently. In the 2nd year they meet with the teachers twice a semester to provide support.

In this community, all the teachers first receive the 6 monthly IY classroom management training workshops. Peer coaching is provided throughout the year and teachers have booster workshops once a year where they share stories of their experiences and how they have incorporated IY concepts in their daily work.

The community and their teachers have made a real and genuine commitment to helping enhance children’s social and emotional development. How lucky these children are!

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New Research! The Incredible Years for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Two researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work conducted a study to determine the acceptability and short-term outcomes of the Incredible Years® Parent Program (15- week, preschool basic version) for parents raising preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study utilized a pre-post design (with no control group) reported high parent acceptability of the program. Additionally, total stress related to the child was significantly decreased with intervention effect sizes from moderate to large following program completion (Sarah Dababnah & Parish, 2014). See article abstract on our website.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

Dababnah, S., & Parish, S. L. (2014). Incredible Years Program Tailored to Parents of Preschoolers with Autism: Pilot Results Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 1-14.

A second paper was recently published (S. Dababnah, 2015) reporting qualitative data from individual interviews with parents. Parents reported they benefited most from child emotion regulation strategies, play-based child behavior skills, parent stress management, social support and visual resources. Parents interviews suggested they would like to see  additional vignettes of children with ASD, identify alternative “sensory” rewards and access to visual resources and they also wanted to add more sessions focused on individualized parent self-care and support.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

father and son looking at cue cards

It is interesting this study should come out the same year that a new Incredible Years Parent Program for parents of children (ages 2-5) on the Autism Spectrum or with Language Delays was released. This new parent program includes vignettes of parents and children with ASD and language delays, incentives including sensory activities, visual resources, emotional and social coaching methods, pretend play enhancement, ways to promote children’s self-regulation skills and additional family support. The program can be used as a supplement to the basic IY parenting program or offered separately as a 14-week parent program. See below a short overview video for this program!


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Fathers and Parenting Groups (New Research)

father and son'For parents attending parenting skills groups, it is always encouraged that both partners be involved in the group when possible. This joint effort allows parents to be on the same page and provides consistency for the child. However, there is a lack of research looking specifically at the effects of fathers attending parenting groups.

Recently a new study was published by Tataiana Homen at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, evaluating the impact of the The Incredible Years® (IY) preschool parent program on fathers. In this study, the fathers of thirty-six children were randomly assigned to receive either the IY program or a control group. Researchers then reported on the father’s parenting skills and their children’s behavior.

Results from before the program and six months later showed significant improvements for the fathers attending the IY Parenting Groups. Not only did the fathers’ positive parenting skills improve, but the children’s prosocial behaviors benefited as well! Additionally, these fathers reported an improvement in their family’s quality of life, which is especially important. The fathers were highly involved as shown by great attendance rates. They reported high satisfaction with the program in terms of how their children’s behavior improved. The mothers’ reports followed the same trends as the fathers. 8-4B-3

These promising results suggest that father involvement in the parent programs may further promote social support in the family and increase consistency in parenting between mothers and fathers, thereby improving long term positive outcomes for children’s development.


1. Homem, T.C., et al., A Pilot Study with the Incredible Years Parenting Training: Does it Work for Fathers of Preschoolers with Oppositional Behavior Symptoms. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 2014. 12(3).

Learn more about research on the evidence-based Incredible Years Programs from our research library!


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Positive Outcomes of Incredible Years® Parent/Child Program Implementation in Pennsylvania

family-blogThe Incredible Years® (IY) Series is implemented in a wide range of organizations all over the world. One organization in Pennsylvania, EPIS Center, has just released exciting results from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency funded providers of the implementation of the IY Parent and Child programs from 2013-2014.

Parents attended IY Parenting Classes to increase positive parenting practices including play, coaching methods, praise, problem-solving, limit setting, and more.

Additionally, children in one group received Classroom Dinosaur School – a prevention program delivered to a large group of children, teaching them social and emotional skills, academic skills, problem-solving, etc.

A second child group received Small Group Dinosaur School – a treatment program for children with diagnosed behavior or conduct problems – where a more targeted and intensive approach is taken in the program delivery.

episcenterquote12EPIS Center is an organization committed to quality, high-fidelity delivery ­– these results show how this commitment pays off!

Summary of results
Basic Parent Outcomes Summary (2013-2014)

Of 463 parents served, 70% attended at least 12 or more “sessions” (weekly parent classes). By the end of the class, those parents completing the groups reported many positive outcomes! 88% reported a decrease in harsh discipline, and 76% reported an increase in positive parenting.

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Classroom Dinosaur School Outcome Summary (2013-2014)

526 youth were served in this prevention program targeting children ages 3-8 years old. 86% of the children completed the program. Facilitators filled out pre and post surveys and reported that 48% of the students showed decreased antisocial behavior, 51% showed improved concentration/attention, and 52% showed increased emotional competence.

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Small Group Dinosaur School – Treatment Outcome Summary (2013-2014)

Of the 271 children served, 79% completed the program. Parents of the children completed pre and post tests: 76% reported decreased antisocial behavior in their child, 75% reported improved concentration/attention, and 79% reported increased emotional competence.

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It is fantastic to see such wonderful results from this model organization.

You can view the full report and learn about other agencies implementing IY with high success and fidelity, here.


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A Word From One of Our Parents

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dreamstime_m_2733423 adjThis summer we were delighted to hear from a mother and her family whose daily lives were improved by attending an Incredible Years® parenting course. We received a message from an IY group leader in New Zealand with an article published by a mother in their group. We were excited to read the article and get in contact with this parent. Ashley and her family went through the course not once, not twice, but three times! In her own words, “It might be possible to be addicted!”

This mother wrote a wonderfully kind article about The Incredible Years® that was published in her local paper, as well as two detailed blog posts (PART 1 & PART 2) dedicated to her experience – which you can find on her parenting blog, The Motherhood Project. Ashley’s blog posts come from an honest and reflective perspective – she discusses her initial hesitance to attend a parenting group and how it eventually helped her family.

“I’ve just finished IYP for the second time! I chose to take the course a second time because it was easy to slip back in to bad habits and I enjoyed the extra support from the group. This time I did it with my partner, which was awesome and well worth the juggle to get time off work, because then we could parent together and support each other. The strategies are simple yet very effective – and they really work! What I love most about The Incredible Years® is that it is based on a foundation of a respectful relationship with your child. We adopt an attachment parenting approach in our home and The Incredible Years® builds upon that. Thus, parenting is more positive-focused using these techniques and each day with our children is happier.

Interacting with other like-minded parents is a blessing; a support network we need. The facilitators guide the group to adopt the techniques, one at a time, into home life so the changes are sustainable. We enjoyed each week of our course. I highly recommend it to every family, because there is something there for everyone. Imagine the difference in your home if you don’t have to spend so much time yelling and debating with your children! In particular with kids on the spectrum (we have one), the strategies really worked for him. I really love that all the techniques are life skills so we are setting our children up for success.”

It is so incredible to hear about their experience using the program and the effect it had on their lives as a family. Thank you Ashley for your willingness to share and be open about your experiences. These stories are what keep us going!

– The Incredible Years®  Team