A Programwide Model for Supporting Social Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior in Early Childhood Settings

  • Lise Fox
  • Mary Louise Hemmeter
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


In 2005, popular press headlines reported that expulsion rates for preschool children due to behavioral concerns exceeded those of elementary and secondary school students. This report put a national spotlight on an issue that has been quietly hidden within private and public preschool programs; challenging behavior is an issue for many children in the early childhood years. The national survey indicated that expulsion rates were higher for older children, boys, and African American children and were higher within private and faith-based settings (Gilliam, 2005). Programs that had access to mental health or behavioral consultation were less likely to expel children than programs without access to those resources.

While the headlines may have been surprising to the general public, they were not surprising to early childhood researchers, who have become increasingly concerned about the need to identify effective interventions for promoting very young children's social emotional competence and addressing challenging behavior. Research on the developmental trajectory of young children who have challenging behavior presents a disturbing forecast; young children who have persistent challenging behaviors are highly likely to continue to have problems with socialization and school success and mental health concerns into adolescence and adulthood (Dunlap et al., 2006).


Early Childhood Child Care Leadership Team Head Start Challenging Behavior 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lise Fox
  • Mary Louise Hemmeter

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