Program

Apr 09, 2012

OVERVIEW

Foundations of Learning is an intervention aimed at helping preschool teachers improve classroom management and thereby increase positive behaviors while reducing behavior problems. The intervention is a combination of in-class training and on-site coaching. During the program year, there were positive impacts on teacher’s classroom climate, behavioral management, and the amount of  instructional time that children experience in their classrooms. The program also reduced children’s conflicts with teachers. There were no impacts on positive social behavior or math and literacy outcomes. By the year following the program, there was no evidence of any positive effects on program children.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Preschool teachers

Foundations of Learning is an
intervention aimed at training preschool teachers to proactively guide
children’s positive behaviors while limiting or redirecting aggressive and
disruptive behavior. It includes four components delivered across one school
year. Teacher trainingoccurs across five Saturday training sessions,
which provide instruction on developing positive relationships with children,
presenting classroom strategies, and providing teachers with techniques for
developing children’s social skills, anger management, and problem-solving
ability. These sessions are adapted from

The Incredible Years
 curriculum. The classroom-level
consultation
provides teachers with a master’s-level consultant who works
with them in the classroom one day per week, modeling and reinforcing the
content of the training sessions. Teachers also participate in a 90-minute stress managementworkshop at the program site. Finally, beginning in the
spring, a small number of children continuing to exhibit behavior problems
receive individualized child-centered consultations.These were
one-on-one services delivered weekly or biweekly in the classroom context.

The cost of the program was
$25,752 per classroom.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Morris,
P., Raver, C.C., Millenky, M., Jones, S., and Lloyd, C.M. (2010). Making
Preschool More Productive: How Classroom Management Training Can Help Teachers.

MDRC: New York.

Evaluated population:Participating in the study were 51 preschools serving primarily 4-year-old
children. All preschools were overseen by the Newark Public School system, and
subject to the requirements of the Abbott v. Burke class action case
requiring the state to increase education funding for disadvantaged districts.
Preschool teachers (n = 49) in the study were on average 37 years of age, mostly
female, and all had a B.A.; 52 percent of the teachers were black, 23 percent
were Hispanic, and 24 percent were white. The children (n = 623) were
42 percent
black, 10 percent white, and 36 percent Hispanic. About half the children that
participated in the study lived in a single-parent household, and most were low
income. The evaluation took place in Newark, New Jersey.

Approach:
Preschools
(Head Start Centers, community-based child care centers, and public schools)
were randomized to the intervention (n = 26) or control (n = 25) condition. One
classroom per preschool, serving primarily 4-year-old children, was selected to
be the “study” classroom; this occurred prior to random assignment of
preschools. Classrooms had an average of 14 children each. The control group
received preschool as usual. Randomization was conducted such that program type,
children’s race/ethnic composition, and city ward membership were balanced
between program and control groups. Measurements took place in the fall
(baseline) and spring of the preschool year, and the year following the program
(kindergarten).

In the
fall and spring of the preschool year, observers rated teachers on the
following: positive classroom management, use of classroom time, and quality of
language instruction. Observers also rated children on the following: problem
behaviors, positive social behavior, and approach to learning. Finally, teachers
reported children’s problem behaviors, positive social behavior, approach to
learning, and pre-academic skills.

In the
year following the program (i.e., kindergarten), kindergarten teachers reported
on the following child outcomes: problem behaviors, positive social behaviors,
approaches to learning, and academic skills.

Analysis
took into account the clustering of children in classrooms. There were no
baseline differences between program and control teachers, children, or
classrooms.

Results:

During
the program year

Teacher
behavior.
Program
group teachers used more positive affect (positive climate; effect size = .75),
displayed less sarcasm and anger (negative climate; effect size = -.90), and
showed better behavior management (effect size = .72)
thandid
their counterparts in the control group. The intervention also improved the
management of classroom time (marginal; effect size = .63), the use of engaging
teaching methods (marginal; effect size = .61), and the amount of instructional
time (effect size = .96). The intervention did not have an impact on teacher
sensitivity or on several aspects of quality language instruction.

Child
outcomes. The program lead to reductions in conflicts with teachers (effect size
= -.40) and peers (marginal; effect size = -.27), but the program did not impact
any positive aspects of teacher-child or peer interactions. The program also
improved children’s task engagement (marginal; effect size = .31), task behavior
control (marginal; effect size = .34), and overall classroom student engagement
(marginal; effect size = .60) but not task self-reliance. Finally, the program
had no impact on any of the teacher report measures of outcomes (which includedproblem behaviors, positive social behaviors, approaches to learning, and
academic skills).

The
following year

Child
outcomes (in kindergarten). The only significant impacts observed were in the
negative direction: children in the intervention group exhibited higher
internalizing (marginal; effect size = .24) and externalizing problems
(marginal; effect size = .16) than children in the control group. There are also
subgroup findings based on children’s initial level of behavior problems. For
children with low levels of behavior problems, the program had no impact on
social behavior, but positive impacts were found for approaches to learning
(marginal; effect size = .33) and language and literacy (marginal; effect size =
.26). For children with high levels of behavior problems, the program had a
negative impact on internalizing behaviors (marginal; effect size = .34); no
other impacts were observed for this group of children.

Teacher
behavior. Program teachers continued to exhibit positive classroom management
(scores were maintained from the previous year). Note that classroom management
of control teachers were not observed during the following year.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Morris,
P., Raver, C.C., Millenky, M., Jones, S., and Lloyd, C.M. (2010). Making
Preschool More Productive: How Classroom Management Training Can Help Teachers.

MDRC: New York.

KEYWORDS:
Preschool,
Children, Males and Females (Co-Ed), Counseling/Therapy, Mentoring, Early
Childhood Education, Social Skills, Other Social/Emotional Health, Aggression,
Other Behavioral Problems, Cost information is available

Program
information last updated on 4/9/12.