The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme in Kindergartens: Effects of a Universal Preventive Effort

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify preventive effects of the Incredible Years (IY) teacher classroom management (TCM) programme, which is employed in Norwegian kindergartens for 3-year-old to 6-year-old children. IY TCM is a universal preventive intervention intended to reduce the frequency of inappropriate types of behaviour and support children’s social- and emotional competence in kindergartens and schools. IY TCM was implemented in 46 kindergartens and compared to 46 matched kindergartens that did not receive the intervention. A total of 1049 children took part in the trial, 511 from the IY TCM group and 538 from the comparison group. Children’s behaviours were measured using well-validated instruments at the beginning and end of a school-year cycle, approximately 9 months later. Findings showed promising reductions in aggression, internalising and attention problems, and increases in social competence in the IY TCM kindergartens. In a sub-sample comprising children who scored equal to or above the 90th percentile on aggressive behaviour before the intervention, promising developments were found in social competence among the children in IY TCM kindergartens. The IY TCM lead to promising preventive effects in young children’s aggressive behaviours, internalisation, attention problems, and social competence in kindergartens in Norway. However, even if the changes were statistically significant, effect sizes were small. For children with severe behaviour problems, few positive results were found.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Professor Willy-Tore Mørch for his contribution to the study design, Anne-Kari Johnsen, Merete Aasheim and Oddbjørn Løndal for acquisition of data, parents for their willingness to participate, and the kindergarten teachers for completing data.

Funding

The study was supported by the Norwegian Directorate of Health following the implementation of IY TCM in Norway. The Directorate was not involved in any part of the study, including the design of the study, collection of data, analyses of the data or interpretation of the findings.

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Correspondence to Sturla Fossum.

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The Incredible Years is a trademark owned by The Incredible Years, Inc. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Fossum, S., Handegård, B.H. & Britt Drugli, M. The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme in Kindergartens: Effects of a Universal Preventive Effort. J Child Fam Stud 26, 2215–2223 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0727-3

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Keywords

  • The Incredible years
  • Universal prevention
  • Kindergartens
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Social competence