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Promoting Healthy Activity in Kids ~ Incredible Adventures of Wally: Sports Edition (Part 1)

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Wally, like many young children, loves to play outdoors. In this series about promoting healthy activity in kids, we’ll follow Wally as he tries out for different sports, and also consider the benefits of exercise and outdoor play for children.

You may remember when Wally and the whole puppet gang decided to start exercising back in October (if not, refresh your memory by clicking here!).  We shared an article that showed how the Incredible Years programs had been linked to healthier outcomes and lower rates of obesity. You can read that article here. 

In Part 1 of this series, let’s consider some of the benefits of exercise, sports, and outdoor play for children. With summer on it’s way, this is a great time for families to start planning play time outside all together! Spending time playing together outside fosters family bonding and helps children see how physical activity can be fun. Especially for younger children, try not to impose rules but instead allow them to be child-directed and explore different sports and games.

You can bring a variety of options to the park and try out some different games like tag, kicking the ball around, or playing catch.  This sort of play promotes hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and it can also be a wonderful way to foster your child’s imagination and creativity, allowing him/her to explore new things. Another benefit is helping children see how exercise can come in many different forms and be enjoyable. It promotes a healthy, active lifestyle, and gives children a way to release energy!

Check back next week – Wally will continue making the rounds of Seattle sports teams, trying to choose which one is right for him!

~The Incredible Years Team

 


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Incredible Years® Building Blocks For Head Start (Part 1)

Benefits of Parents and Teachers Working in Partnership in Head Start: Promoting Children’s
Social Emotional Development and School Readiness (Part 1)

Written by: Carolyn Webster-Strattonheadstart_fb

There is a lot of buzz going around right now about promoting quality Early Childhood Education. We know this is a vital time in children’s lives, where they are learning important lessons about problem solving, engaging with peers, cooperating with teachers and parents, and more. Providing extra support for parents, teachers and children during these early school years can result in lasting skills which will help to reduce aggression and behavior problems, while increasing positive social interactions and academic competence. The Incredible Years® programs (www.incredibleyears.com) aim to do just that, and in this two part series we hope to shine a light specifically on using the Incredible Years® series in a Head Start context.

headstartquote3Numerous randomized control group studies over the past 2 decades have shown that using the Incredible Years® (IY) Parents, Teachers and Children’s Training Series in Head Start or Sure Start (in United Kingdom) results in significant improvements in classroom observations of children’s social competence, emotional literacy, and problem solving with peers. Additionally, there are increases in child cooperation with teachers, engagement with school activities, school readiness and reductions in children’s aggression in the classroom. According to both parent and teacher reports, parent involvement in their children’s school activities as well as with  teachers was significantly improved compared to Head Start control families’ reports.

 

Study #1: Effects of IY Basic Parent Program In Head Start

The first study was carried out in 1998 to examine the effectiveness of the IY parent program for Head Start families. The sample included 426 Head Start mothers and their 4 year old children who generally faced multiple risk factors, including 85% receiving welfare, 55% single parent status, 42% moderately depressed and 28% with substance abuse problems. Approximately 37% represented minority group status, including Asian, Hispanic and African American families. Seven Head Start centers were randomly assigned to either the intervention condition or regular Head Start services.

In the intervention condition parents received the IY Parent basic program (9 sessions held weekly for 2 hours) which was delivered by trained family service workers. Additionally, Head Start teachers participated in a 2-day workshop to familiarize them with the IY parent program. Training for both parents and teachers covered the importance of parent-teacher communication and parent involvement in Head Start.

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Results showed significant improvements in blind observations of the intervention group parent behaviors including fewer critical remarks, less harsh discipline and more nurturing and responsive parenting compared with the control group mothers. In turn, the children of intervention group mothers had fewer behavior problems than control group children whose behavior remained unchanged. Intervention group teachers and parents reported significant improvements in children’s behaviors and teachers also reported increases in parents’ involvement and contact with schools. Parent satisfaction with the program was very high with most parents requesting that the program continue longer. One year later, improvements in intervention mothers’ parenting skills and children’s behavior were maintained according to home observations and parent reports.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1998). Preventing conduct problems in Head Start children: Strengthening parenting competencies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 715-730.

Study #2: Added Benefits of Longer IY Parent Program plus the IY Teacher Classroom Management Program

In 2001, another study looked at the effectiveness of offering a longer, more comprehensive IY parent program alongside the IY teacher program. The sample included 272 Head Start mothers and 61 teachers. As in study #1, many of the families faced multiple risk factors and 63% represented ethnic minority groups. Fourteen Head Start centers (34 classrooms) were randomly assigned to either intervention or control groups.

hsquoteIn the intervention group, parents received the Basic and Advance IY parent programs (16 sessions held weekly for 2 hours).  The material included school readiness training (pre-reading and writing skills) and parent problem solving skills. At the same time, teachers were trained in the IY Teacher Classroom Management Program, which focuses on building relationships with students and parents, proactive discipline and ways to promote student’s social and emotional competence. Teachers received 6 full day workshops spread throughout the school year. The parents in the Head Start control group received their usual services which included some parent education.

teacher-block_wadcResults indicated improvements for intervention group parenting interactions, including more responsive, positive parenting and less negative interactions than control group parents. Parent-teacher bonding was significantly higher for intervention parents who attended six or more intervention sessions than for control group parents. Intervention group teachers had higher scores on classroom management skills than those in the control group. Children in the intervention group showed significant improvements in conduct problems at school and better social skills competence compared with control children. Results indicated significant changes regardless of the ethnicity of the family and high consumer satisfaction scores.

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2001). Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: A parent and teacher training partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(3), 283-302.

 

More IY Parent and Teacher Studies with High Risk Populations by Independent Researchers

In addition to the developer studies (described above), Dr. Judy Hutchings and her team (in Wales) have conducted studies evaluating the IY basic parent program in Sure Start  (a similar program to Head Start in the UK, for economically disadvantaged families). Short and long term outcomes were impressive for the entire sample, replicating those achieved by the developer, including similar high retention rates. Good outcomes were also achieved for children from the most disadvantaged, typically hard-to-engage families with clear evidence that change in parenting behavior mediated changed child behavior.

Additionally, the Wales team evaluated the IY teacher programs as well as parent programs with positive outcomes in terms of changes in teacher and student outcomes.

Bywater, T., Hutchings, J., Daley, D., Whitaker, C., Tien Yeo, S., Jones, K., et al. (2009). Long-term effectiveness of a parenting intervention for children at risk of developing conduct disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 318-324.

Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., & Daley, D. (2007). A pragmatic randomised controlled trial of a parenting intervention in Sure Start services for pre-school children at risk of developing conduct disorder: how and why did it work? Journal of Children’s Services, 2(2), 4-14

Gardner, F., Hutchings, J., & Bywater, T. (2010). Who benefits and how does it work? Moderators and mediators of outcome in a randomized trial of parenting interventions in multiple ‘Sure Start’ services. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39, 1-13.

Hutchings, J., Daley, D., Jones, E. E., Martin, P., Bywater, T., & Gwyn, R. (2007). Early results from developing and researching the Webster-Stratton Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Training Programme in North West Wales. Journal of Children’s Services, 2(3), 15-26.

Other independent replications using randomized control group studies have been conducted utilizing the Incredible Years Parenting Programs in the United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland, Holland and Portugal. Some of these studies use the prevention version of the program and others are offered as treatment programs for children with conduct problems and ADHD.

See Incredible Years web site for these articles: http://incredibleyears.com/research-library/

Summary

Despite the successful research by the developer and other researchers in 5 other countries, there are still many challenges ahead – of course including the potential funding restrictions arising from cuts in government funding. Early intervention requires sustained support from politicians, agency directors, trainers, mentors and coaches. 

 


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The Incredible Years® in Pediatric Settings

Evaluation of a parenting program for treating children’s early disruptive behavior problems delivered in a pediatric setting. 

In well child visits pediatricians frequently see parents who are asking about their children’s hyperactivity, aggression and defiant behaviors. Such behaviors are a developmentally normal phase for toddlers because they lack the language and self-regulation skills to control their impulses.  However, toddlers and preschoolers who exhibit these behaviors at high intensity and frequency are at risk for continuing this disruptive behavior pattern in later childhood and many parents and caregivers do not have the parenting tools to respond effectively.  These early onset behavior problems are associated with academic underachievement, and confer risk for later life psychopathology including criminality and substance abuse (Tremblay, Nagin, & Seguin, 2004).  Effective early intervention is crucial.

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Unfortunately even though numerous clinical trials, meta-analyses, and consensus guidelines recommend that psychosocial interventions should constitute the first-line approach for treatment of early disruptive behavior problems, the proportion of children receiving evidence-based programs is decreasing (Comer, Chow, Chan, Cooper-Vince, & Wilson, 2013). Children are more likely to receive psychotropic medications, even though controlled trials of the efficacy of this approach for this age group have not been conducted.

Primary care physicians, who see families frequently during a child’s early years, are strategically placed to help parents prevent the development of serious disruptive behavior problems and to expand the availability and accessibility of services by offering evidence-based parent training programs.

A newly published randomized control group trial has tested the efficacy of using the Incredible Years® (IY) toddler parent program in 11 diverse primary care rural and urban pediatric practices (Perrin, Sheldrick, McMenamy, Henson, & Carter, 2014).

Ellen PerrinThis study was conducted by Dr. Ellen Perrin, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician who is Director of Research at the Center for Children with Special Needs and  Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston Massachusetts.

This particular evidence-based program was chosen because of its extensive research and ease of delivery. A recent meta-analyses of  50 studies utilizing the IY program reported its success in improving child behavior in a diverse range of families (Menting, Orobio de Castro, & Matthys, 2013).

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Study Method

Parents were selected for this program based on behavioral screening above the 80th percentile on the Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment Scale. The study sample is characterized as high risk or borderline clinical because children were selected based on elevated symptoms of behavior problems.  A total of 150 parents were randomly assigned to either the IY 10-week, 2-hour parent program or a waiting list control group.  An additional 123 parents were assigned to the parent intervention without a randomly selected comparison group. The parent program was offered primarily by psychologists or social workers in conjunction with a member of the pediatric office staff.  Among the 3 study groups, 54% to 73% completed at least  7 group sessions.

Positive results

Results showed that parents who participated in the IY program reported more change in self-reported parent and toddler outcomes at post treatment than did parents in the waiting list control condition. Analyses of independent videotaped observations of parent-toddler interactions showed that negative parenting, child disruptive behaviors and negative child-parent interactions were lower at post treatment and at 12-month follow-up compared with baseline observations for parents who received the program.  No differences were found for the waiting list control parents at post condition compared with baseline.

The findings are very promising and suggest that offering the IY program as a group model in pediatric settings is a cost effective way of reducing children’s behavior problems and providing secondary preventive intervention (Stein, 2014). (Stein, 2014). The next step is to convince practitioners, who typically see these families in individual treatment sessions, of the value of the group learning model for providing behavioral training for parents of young children and building support networks for their families.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about the Incredible Years® Programs and/or this recent research!

Click this link to read the full article!

If you are interested in learning more about The Incredible Years programs, click this link to go to our website.

References:

Comer, J. S., Chow, C., Chan, P. T., Cooper-Vince, C., & Wilson, L. A. (2013). Psychosocial treament efficacy for disruptive behavior problems in very young children: A meta-analytic examination Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(1), 26-36.

Menting, A. T. A., Orobio de Castro, B., & Matthys, W. (2013). Effectiveness of the Incredible Years Parent Training to Modify Disruptive and Prosocial Child Behavior:A Meta-Analytic Review. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 901-913.

Perrin, E. C., Sheldrick, R. C., McMenamy, J. M., Henson, B. S., & Carter, A. S. (2014). Improving parenting skills for families of young children in pediatric settings: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics, 168(1), 16-24.

Stein, M. T. (2014). Group-Based Parenting-Skills training in primary care offices:Are we ready for the challenge? Journal of American Medical Association, 168(1), 7-9.

Tremblay, R., Nagin, D., & Seguin, J. (2004). Physical aggression during early childhood: trajectories and predictors. Pediatrics, 114, 43-50.


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December Updates!

Hi all!

We wanted to remind you of a couple things that have been happening here at Incredible Years. Feel free to e-mail or call us with any questions!

1.  Thank you to all of you who took our social media survey! You provided some really helpful information and your comments are incredible. As we enter into the new year we hope to implement some of your fantastic ideas! One thing in particular we noticed was that some folks said they only recently found out IY is on Facebook and has a Blog. We hope we can all work together to help spread the word so that more people find out about these great tools for communication. Let us know how we can help!

2. WEBSITE UPDATES! We have added some VERY IMPORTANT things to our website this month!

  • Incredible Years Provider Listings: We have parents and social workers call us quite often looking for IY classes in their area. We have compile a list of IY providers for parent, teacher, and child classes and posted these to our website, here: http://incredibleyears.com/parents-teachers/looking-for-incredible-years-groups/
    You can access this page from the home page, by clicking “Parents and Teachers.” Then look on the right side of the page for the blue “Learn More” section and you will see the tab, “Looking for Incredible Years Groups?”
  • Downloadable Handouts: We have received really positive feedback about some of our blogs postings and our recently implemented “News and Tips” Newsletter. So we are transferring these (and others!) into downloadable handouts! Parents can access these, as well as group leaders, to provide to parents in your groups (or parents of children in your groups!). Parents can find the handouts here: http://incredibleyears.com/parents-teachers/articles-for-parents/
    (Go to “Parents and Teachers” then in “Learn More” click on “Articles for Parents”)Group Leaders can access the handouts here OR in the “Resources for Group Leaders” > “For Parent Programs” > “Extras for Parent Programs” – OR just click this link! http://incredibleyears.com/resources/gl/parent-program/
  • Videos for Group Leaders: You may have noticed we are posting quite a lot of new videos to the website and our YouTube channel. Many of these videos will be really useful for group leaders! They can be used as recruitment tools, to explain content/overview of the programs, and illustrate some concepts. The videos are spread out around the website, but we thought it would be useful to also compile them in one spot for group leaders. There is now a “Videos for Group Leaders” section on the main Resources for Group Leaders page. Go to the Resources for group leaders (home page, scroll down about mid way), and scroll down a bit to find the videos section.

3. Finally, we hope you are all signed up for our newsletter! Wally will be sending out his annual Christmas letter soon – he and Carolyn have been having fun putting together a Christmas story for you all!

~The Incredible Years Team


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Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Preschoolers

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Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.

Welcome to our final installment of “Reading with CARE” for Preschoolers! We hope you have found this series useful when considering different ways to read with your young children.

Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Preschoolers

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c_blockComment and describe objects, colors, numbers, sizes, letters, emotions, and actions of pictures in books. Talk about the pictures in your native language while you point to the pictures, or run your finger under the lines of the words as you read them.  Take turns interacting and let your child turn the pages and be the story teller by encouraging and listening to him/her talk about the pictures or retell memorized stories

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a_blockAsk  open-ended questions and explore book together. Ask questions that show you are interested in the child’s thoughts and ideas.  E.g. “What do you think will happen next?” “What’s interesting about this page?”   Avoid asking too many questions or your child will think you are testing him.  To keep a balance you can intersperse open-ended questions with descriptive comments.  E.g. “I see a red car and one, two, three, four trees.  Oh, there’s a little mouse.  What do you see?”  When you do ask questions, don’t “test” your child about facts (e.g., “what color is this?” “what shape is this?”).  Questions with right or wrong answers put the child on the spot and may cause anxiety or resistance.

Examples of open ended questions:

“What do you see on this page?” (observing and reporting)

“What’s happening here?” (story telling)

“What is that a picture of?” (promoting academic skills)

“I wonder how she is feeling now?” (exploring feelings)

“What is going to happen next?” (predicting)

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r_blockRespond and listen attentively with smiles, encouragement, praise and delight to your child’s thinking and responses. Follow your child’s lead and empower his or her confidence.

“Good thinking, that is a tall giraffe.”

“You really thinking hard about that.”

“Wow, you know a lot about trains.”

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e_blockExpand on your what your child says. You can expand by adding a new word or similar word to what your child says or by reminding her of a personal experience or event in her life that is similar to the story in the book.

“Yes, I agree he is feeling excited, and he might be a little scared as well.”

“Yes, it is horse; it’s also called a mare because it’s female.”

“Yes, that boy is going to the park. Do you remember going to the park with grandma?”

You can also expand by encouraging your child to write his own stories, or dictate them to you and write them down.

“That’s awesome. You are learning your letters and are learning to read and are going to be ready for school.”

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You can expand by encouraging your child to problem solve solutions to the story plot and act out their ideas with puppets.

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Reminder to:

• Read in a quiet place, turn off any competing noises such as TV, stereo, radio or computer. Even the phone should be turned off during this time.

• Avoid commands and criticisms when children are reading.

• Allow children to reread stories as often as they wish. This is a pre-reading skill and leads to mastery and confidence.

• Read to children every day and allow them to see you reading.

• Offer a variety of books such as folk tales, poems, informational books, fantasy, fables and adventure stories.

• Involve siblings and grandparents in reading to your child in their language.

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~The Incredible Years Team

Content of this blog ©The Incredible Years®


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Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Babies

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Written by: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.

Did you know that there is a connection between how much you talk to your baby and his or her later reading abilities and school success?

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Studies (e.g., Hart & Risley) have shown that by 18 months, children from low-income families hear significantly fewer words in their homes than children from higher income families. One recent study from Stanford University showed that by their 3rd year, low-income children have heard 30 million fewer words than higher income children (full article can be found here). If this language exposure gap continues, by the time these children get to kindergarten they will need remediation because they are already far behind in the language and school readiness skills needed for school success. Since early vocabulary is connected to later success in reading comprehension, this language gap presents a barrier to these children’s future academic learning achievement. It was also found that TV talk not only didn’t help, but it was a barrier.

Often these parents just don’t know that it is important to talk more to their babies. The good news is that randomized control group studies show that programs such as the Incredible Years® Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Parent Series result in improvements in children’s social and emotional language skills and school readiness.  It has been shown that low income parents can successfully learn to focus their attention and learn to talk more to their babies and children using descriptive commenting, persistence, and social and emotion coaching language during child-directed play and reading interactions.

See these studies:

Preventing Conduct Problems and Improving School Readiness: Evaluation of the Incredible Years Teacher and Child Training Programs in High-Risk Schools

Preventing Conduct Problems, Promoting Social Competence: A Parent and Teacher Training Partnership in Head Start

Halting the Development of Conduct Problems in Head Start Children: The Effects of Parent Training

Here are some tips to building your baby’s language vocabulary through reading interactions. This is not about flash cards, use of Ipads or computers, or memorization of words. Rather it is about loving, child-directed conversations while reading books, playing with your child, or engaging in everyday routines. And yes, you must turn off your mobile phone 🙂

Building Blocks for Reading with CARE with Babies

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c_blockComment, point to and describe objects, colors, emotions, sounds and actions of pictures in touch-and-feel books. You don’t need to read the actual words in the book, just point to and talk about the pictures using your native language.  For example, “Teddy’s nose is yellow. Baby is hungry. The train is slowing down.” Allow your baby to touch the book and even to put it in his/her mouth.

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a_blockAct enthusiastic using physical dramatizations and sound effect.  For example, “that is a bird, he goes chirp chirp.” (Use your hands to make a chirp sign). Use a melodious voice varying the pace, phrasing, voice rhythm and pitch of your words.  Pause between sounds or vocalizations to allow your baby to respond.

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Respond with smiles, encouragement, eye contact, cuddling and delight to your baby’s smiles, body signals and pointing movements; follow what your baby is looking at and be child-directed in what you respond to.

 

e_blockExpand on your baby’s sounds.  If your baby says a syllable such as “la la” or “da da,” mirror or repeat the sound. Or, if your baby says “ball,” repeat the word and add a descriptor such as the color or shape of the ball.  “Yes, that’s a big, red ball!” If you have other children, read what they like while you are holding your baby. Let them read to your baby and imitate your baby’s sounds. Start reading at any page and make up your own stories or sing while you are looking at the book.

Remember:

• Be sure your baby’s head is supported and you are both sitting in a comfortable chair.  You might use a pillow or a sling to support your baby so that your hands are free.

• Read in a quiet place. Turn off any competing noises such as TV, stereo, or radio; this will also prevent overstimulation or stress.

•  There will be variability in individual baby’s interest in books, so don’t worry if your baby does not seem intently interested or starts crying.  Respond to your baby’s cues.  If (s)he seems fussy or uninterested in the book, try changing your tone or reading a different book.  If these new strategies do not engage him/her, then stop trying to read, and do another soothing activity with your baby. Try again later.

For more information, see the Incredible Years® Parents and Babies Program, and the book, Incredible Babies: Ways to Promote Your Baby’s Social, Emotional and Language Development by Carolyn Webster-Stratton.

Next week, we will bring you part 2 of this 3 part series: Reading with CARE for Toddlers.

References

Hart, Betty & Risley, Todd R.American parenting of language-learning children: Persisting differences in family-child interactions observed in natural home environments. Developmental Psychology, Vol 28(6), Nov 1992, 1096-1105. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.28.6.1096
Fernald, A., Marchman, V. A. and Weisleder, A. (2013), SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months. Developmental Science, 16: 234–248. doi: 10.1111/desc.12019
Reid, J. M., Webster-Stratton, C., Baydar, N. 2004. Halting the Development of Conduct Problems in Head Start Children: The Effects of Parent Training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Vol.33(2) 279-291.
Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., University of WA, & Stoolmiller, M. 2008. Preventing Conduct Problems and Improving School Readiness: Evaluation of The Incredible Years Teacher and Child Training Programs in High-Risk Schools. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 49 (5), 471-488.
Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J. & Hammond, M. School of Nursing, University of Washington. Preventing Conduct Problems, Promoting Social Competence: A Parent and Teacher Training Partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. Copyright 2001 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Content of this blog ©The Incredible Years®


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Young Children’s Vocabulary Skills Predicted by Economic Factors (Follow up)

Hello friends!

Earlier this week we shared a guest post from Peter Loft, Certified Incredible Years Trainer. Mr. Loft discussed his response to an article in the NY Times which asserted the value of early childhood education in connection to reducing economic inequality, poverty, and crime.

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For those interested in this topic, we would like to share some further reading. Motoko Rich wrote an article just a few days prior to Kristoff’s article, titled “Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K.”

This article examines new research from Anne Fernald, who found that young children from affluent families had far more advanced vocabularies than those from economically disadvantaged families. This gap began in children as young as 18 months old.

These studies and recent articles highlight the importance of early education and verbal interaction with very young children. Next week, we will begin a series of three guest posts from Incredible Years developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton. This series will provide in depth discussion and tips for reading with young children at various developmental stages (babies, toddlers, and preschool).

Stay tuned!

~The Incredible Years Team

 

Reference

Fernald, A., Marchman, V. A. and Weisleder, A. (2013), SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months. Developmental Science, 16: 234–248. doi: 10.1111/desc.12019