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Effects of social stories on the behaviors of typically developing preschoolers
McNelly, Mary E., 2013
NHSA Dialog, 16(4), 48-63

Challenging behaviors are not exclusive to children with disabilities; they can also affect typically developing children. This study used a multiple baseline design across participants to look at how a social story intervention affected the challenging behaviors (e.g., temper tantrums, hitting, yelling) of three typically developing preschoolers. Overall, results showed that the social stories decreased challenging behaviors from baseline to intervention. Children also experienced an increase in prosocial behaviors and social validity indicated that teachers believed the social story was effective in teaching social skills. This study added to the existing literature on social stories by researching their effect on a population that had not yet been studied. These findings suggest that social stories can be effective interventions for typically developing preschoolers who demonstrate challenging behaviors. (author abstract)

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Living in non-parental care moderates effects of prekindergarten experiences on externalizing behavior problems in school
Lipscomb, Shannon T. , May, 2014
Children and Youth Services Review, 40(), 41-50

The current study examines the effects of prekindergarten quality and quantity on externalizing behavior problems for children living in non-parental care, compared to other children from socioeconomically at-risk backgrounds. Data were obtained from the Head Start Impact Study. Non-parental care was defined as a primary caregiver other than a biological, adoptive, or step-parent. The sample included 3029 children who attended center-based prekindergarten. Teacher-child conflict and more hours of prekindergarten predicted increased externalizing behavior problems for the full sample. Teacher-child closeness and overall process quality were only associated with externalizing behavior for children in non-parental care. Findings are discussed within a goodness-of-fit perspective in which the vulnerabilities of children in non-parental care explain how they respond to their prekindergarten experiences. (author abstract)

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Teachers' ratings of preschool children's behaviour: Inter-teacher agreement and variation in their agreement
Arnold, David H., December, 2013
Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(4), 67-71

Teacher rating scales are an efficient, practical way to gather information on children's behaviour problems in school. Previous research has reported on agreement between parents' and teachers' reports, but less attention has been paid to inter-teacher agreement in young children, to the distinction between relative and absolute agreement, or to variability in teachers' agreement. In the present study, 26 United States teachers of three- to five-year-olds reported on the behaviour of 132 children in their classrooms, with the widely used Achenbach Teacher Report Form. Stronger agreement was seen on ratings of externalising than internalising behaviour. Absolute agreement was not always high even when teachers showed close relative agreement. Agreement varied significantly across informant pairs, suggesting that some teacher pairs rate children's behaviour in very similar ways, while others agree very little. Agreement was stronger in higher-SES than lower-SES classrooms. (author abstract)

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Teachers' supports and children's engagement: Testing for bidirectional associations
Curby, Timothy W., 2014
Charlottesville: University of Virginia, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.

Our recent study examined links between teachers' supports for learning and children's engagement over the course of a typical preschool day. Two aspects of teachers' behaviors were explored: emotional and organizational supports. Four aspects of children's engagement were examined: positive engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks, as well as negative engagement. We found teacher-provided supports were related to children's engagement later in the school day. In two instances, there was a bidirectional relationship in which children's behaviors influenced teachers' later provision of emotional and organizational supports. (author abstract)

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The validity of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for culturally and linguistically diverse Head Start children
Bulotsky-Shearer, Rebecca J., Q4 2013
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 794-807

The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) is a social-emotional assessment widely used by early childhood educational programs to inform early identification and intervention efforts. However, its construct validity is not well-established in independent samples of children from low-income backgrounds. We examined the construct validity of the teacher report of the DECA using a series of confirmatory factor analyses, exploratory factor analyses, and the Rasch partial credit model in a large sample of culturally and linguistically diverse Head Start children (N = 5,197). Findings provided some evidence for consistency in the factor structure of the three Protective Factors subscales (Initiative, Self-Control, and Attachment); however, the factor structure of the Behavioral Concerns subscale was not replicated in our sample and demonstrated poor fit to these data. Findings suggested that the 10 items of the published Behavioral Concerns subscale did not comprise a unidimensional construct, but rather, were better represented by two factors (externalizing and internalizing behavior). The use of the total Behavioral Concerns score as a screening tool to identify emotional and behavioral problems in diverse samples of preschool children from low-income backgrounds was not supported, especially for internalizing behavior. Implications for the consequential validity of the DECA for use as a screening tool in early childhood programs serving diverse populations of children and directions for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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