Literature review Positive behaviour in the early years

by, Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop

There was considerable consistency in data emerging from all measures that parents and staff perceived that the majority of children generally displayed positive behaviour.

Parents and practitioners consider a minority of young children (around 20%) to have some behaviour difficulties, with about 10% of children considered to have severe difficulties, which represents a fairly stable level of expressed concern compared to earlier studies.

Although acknowledging the need for continued training, nevertheless staff report confidence in their own skills with children whose behaviours cause concern, and consider that such needs are able to be met by appropriate provision, team efforts, and well timed intervention.

Early childhood environments were found to vary in quality of provision, in that in some settings the provision of daily activities scored fairly low in this area, as measured by the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS).

Taken with the findings of the relatively low levels of involvement and concentration reported for about 50% of children, this finding sits alongside the HMIE (2006) report that suggests staff in early years settings should focus more on the learning needs of individual children.

The case study focus indicated that greater attention needs to be paid to some features of 0–3 provision in line with Birth to Three: Supporting our youngest children (Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2005). Increased efforts to take advantage of inter-agency support and collaboration are also needed in some settings.

Transitions are challenging for some children, and, with anticipated changes in curriculum design, an opportunity exists to address this challenge in ways that are helpful to children. Development opportunities for staff are needed to further this process.

service providers and parents in managing and promoting positive behaviour in early years and early primary settings • • A collaboration The Scottish Executive: . discussion in the media . a focus on positive behaviour in young children allows us to establish both the evidence on perceptions of positive as well as on disruptive or negative behaviours.Early Education and Childcare Division & • • • • • Council Area A Council Area B The University of Strathclyde A funded project through competitive bid At a Glance 1 Wellbeing in a Societal Context .Pupil Support and Inclusion Division . Challenging behaviour as a relative concept • • • • • • Symposium II/6 Teachers’ Practice: Interaction with Children Well-being and Involvement as a Key Element in a Scottish National Study on Children's Behaviour from the Ages of 0-6 Aline-Wendy Dunlop on behalf of the +ve Behaviour Project Team Positive Behaviour in the Early Years Perceptions of staff.• • • Perceptions of Positive Behaviour Children’s behaviour invites the attention of their parents and attracts the interest of education professionals.suggests a deterioration in standards of behaviour. Contemporary public debate.

• Demography  The proportion of children in the UK population has decreased from 25% in 1976 to 20% in 2002  In 2001. nearly 1 in 4 dependent children under 16 had experienced the divorce of their parents • Poverty  Child poverty rates have been declining since 1999/2000  In 2002/03 28% percent of children in Britain were still living in poverty  The UK continues to have the highest proportion of its children living in workless families in the EU  Bradshaw & Mayhew (2005) • • At a Glance 2 Wellbeing in a Societal Context Education  Number of day care nursery places increased  School exclusion rates increased – with higher rates of school exclusions reported for children from low income households • Housing  Overall and across UK housing conditions improving  Low income and ethnic minority households more likely to live in poor housing • Health  UK has one of highest prevalence rates of asthma in the world  Infant mortality rate and sudden infant deaths is declining Bradshaw & Mayhew (2005) • • • Sharing the Project Perceptions of Positive Behaviour Context of study .

practitioners and service providers to manage behaviour and promote pro . in relation to children’s behaviour The emphasis specified to be on positive behaviour Additionally – – To take account of relevant family factors and circumstances To investigate strategies used by parents. an intervention study) Perceptions of Positive Behaviour Children’s behaviour invites the attention of their parents and attracts the interest of education professionals. impact of dissemination.• • • • • • • Methods . a focus on positive behaviour in young children allows us to establish both the evidence on perceptions of positive as well as on disruptive or negative behaviours. Contemporary public debate. discussion in the media . in the age range 0-6. Challenging behaviour as a relative concept Context of the study As part of a high profile policy on school discipline The Scottish Executive wished to explore the nature of provision and the experience of practitioners in early years settings.suggests a deterioration in standards of behaviour. work with students.pilot and main study A focus on Well-being and Involvement Possible ways of looking at impact What we might like to do next (eg use of data in teaching. To establish the extent to which practitioners feel skilled and prepared • • • • • • • – • • Research Questions What is the extent and nature of behaviour difficulties among children in early years and early primary settings? .social behaviour.

Researching Interactively The project team aimed to stimulate practitioners ideas about behaviour in the children in their charge. Two rounds of well-being and involvement screening were undertaken four months apart. This presentation focuses on the aims of the study. used the Leuven Well-being and Involvement Scales to gain insights into day-to-day behaviour in group day settings for children 0-6. and the use of the scales by staff trained in their use. in relation to supporting transitions from nursery/pre-school to school? What effective approaches to training and support can be identified for staff in early years settings? Well-being and involvement as key elements The study design. and shows how feedback gathered in response to the piloting of research instruments influenced decisions to scaffold their use of the Leuven Scales. as helpful in addressing quality issues in both pre-school and early primary settings. practitioners and service providers use to manage behaviour and promote pro .000 children. and therefore as central elements in this study. the methods. The presentation provides a rationale for using the Leuven Scales. The process of the study confirm both the concepts of well-being and involvement. Forty-four settings were approached with the aim of gathering data on adult perceptions of the behaviour of approximately 2. Staff from all participating early childhood settings were introduced to the ‘Process-oriented Child Monitoring System’ through an introductory full day conference in collaboration with the Centre for Experiential Education. in taking a positive approach to young children’s behaviour. by – Asking about perceptions of behaviour in children • • • • • • • • . and describes anecdotally the way in which the concepts of well-being and involvement had an impact on the practitioners involved.• • • • • What strategies do parents. and the approaches used with participating behaviour? What practices can be identified by staff and parents as successful. and were offered follow up training in a local centre or in their own workplace.

Primary School (4-5 / P1) The Pilot Procedure Strand A.The Pilot Study 5 settings in 2 Local Authorities .Nursery Centre (0-3 / 3-4). Primary School and Nursery Class (4-5 / P1).Practitioner Pack: Project Leaflet Consent Form Return Envelope Consent Form Goodman's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Adult Strategies Questionnaire Sample of Leuven Involvement Scale .Young Children.Parent Pack: Project Leaflet Consent Form Return Envelope Consent Form Goodman's Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Parenting Daily Hassles Scale Adult Strategies Questionnaire • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • .– – – – • • Acknowledging the interactive nature of development Working in a scaffolded way. Child Care (3-4). acknowledging staff perceptions and present understanding Creating zones of proximal development through training sessions Reflecting together on their practices Methods . Process Oriented Monitoring System Transition Questionnaire (P1) Return Envelope for Instruments Strand B. Child & Family Centre (0-3) .

clearer way? • • • • • • • Feedback from the pilot Ask for contextual information on parents Ask for information on additional support needs Good to reflect more on children’s behaviours Need to facilitate completion of measures by parents in some cases Some minor changes to wording in non-standard measures . Children who are in a state of well-being. Involvement means that a child is intensely engaged in an activity. 3.• • • Transition Questionnaire (P1) Return Envelope for Instruments Set of Guidance on Instruments for Practitioners Process Oriented Monitoring Scale (POMS) / Leuven Involvement Scale (LIS) • • Wellbeing and involvement are highly indicative of quality in education. 2. 4. Feedback on the Pilot • • • Questions asked: 1. Use the whole-class screening forms to note down your observations. Please screen the children in your group by observing his/her levels of wellbeing and involvement. How did you find the questionnaires? Was it easy to do? How long did it take you? Would you like anything to change? Was there anything missed out? 5. The level of well-being in children indicates how they are developing emotionally. feel like ‘fish in water’. What did you think of the wording? Could we have said anything in a the transition questionnaire titles Feedback on using the Leuven Scales .

Child sample Scaffolding practitioners’ use of the Leuven Scales. 11 were in the medium range. It was found difficult to assign a level to both aspects. Methods . Methods. Needed to look at meaning of Involvement concept first.time was a big issue. Whole-Class Screening Form 1B was used.Early Childhood Settings (n=41) Area A • • 18 settings. • Methods main study. eg. Data source .socio-economic status Of the 41 settings • • • • • • 25 were in areas of high social deprivation. Area B • • • • • 23 Settings 11 Primary schools. 27 3-4 year olds were observed and it took them about 2 hours to do this.the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (2004). It was good to discuss screening afterwards with all key workers. 6 with an associated nursery class. The day conferences .Practitioners felt observing both aspects properly is lengthy. 6 settings in areas of low social deprivation. to share views and also for trainee Nursery Nurse who gained and learnt a lot from the discussion that took place (N). 5 Primary schools.Parental sample Method . one of them being an independent school. Scottish Executive National Statistics publication (2005).

• • • • • • . so that a balance was struck between experienced use and cultural relevance. play as a source of information…. relationships with members of the family and close friends.• • • • • • • • • • • • • The follow up training days Training in the participating settings Exploring concepts of well-being and involvement in a Scottish Context Observation skills.from ? through to Level 5 During training they found themselves cautious and tended towards scores of 3 + or 3Discussion with colleagues was very helpful in firming up tentative responses By the end of training sessions almost all participants felt confident Within a month many requested ‘top-up’ training The team used local video and the Centre for experiential Education videos. relationships within their play.2) (Laevers et al) to give an overall wellbeing score and also a score in four relational fields of well-being: relationships with the teacher/early educator. The scales in use across the age range. class and school world. Data Returns Well-being and Involvement Returns Case Studies 18 (9 boys and 9 girls) In parallel parents attending the focus group discussions in the case study settings were asked to complete the Process Oriented Child Monitoring System (POMS 2. optimum development (ZPD).0-6 years The training process Staff take a positive view of children’s well-being and involvement They were able to use the whole range of possible scores . relationships with other children.

• Well being is defined as when children’s basic needs are met. Round 2 . • security and clarity. age of parents.• • Case Studies All eight case study settings had taken part in the first phase of the project and had received training in the use of the Well-being and Involvement Scales. feeling competent.n=310) Repeating the measures 4 month interval Can there be change over time in children’s well-being and involvement? Conversations about the impact on practices generated by a growing understanding of the importance of well-being and involvement A desire to ‘intervene’ Planned analysis Comparison of levels of well-being and involvement at 2 points in time Levels of well-being by age and setting Levels of involvement by age and setting Relationships between levels of well-being and levels of involvement Relationships between well-being and involvement and other factors for example levels of deprivation. physical needs and to develop a strong sense of meaning in life…. staff completed a whole class monitoring sheet summarising the well-being and involvement of children in the class. behaviours perceived to cause concern. through interaction. After a period of day-to-day practice during which settings were asked to take a particular observational focus on these two dimensions. adult strategies. social recognition. transitions Taking action • • • • • • • • • • • • • . quality of the learning environment. 7 of 8 case study settings completed on well-being and involvement (Round 1-n=320. for tenderness & affection.

relationships with children Future research • • • • • • .overall well-being. This was seen as a new and positive change.’ • Staff also used photographs to explore feelings and 'persona dolls' were beginning to be used. self in relation to the early years setting.• The training on emotional well-being was seen as brilliant and the staff use techniques from ' the Laevers’ ‘Box of feelings' which had been purchased by the Council. The key for changes in behaviour was seen as links with the parents and good communication. Questioning the data How might staff feel if they had identified high/low levels of well-being and involvement in their setting? What action might they wish to take? The constraints that perceptions research might impose The desire to intervene . Staff have a very good relationship with most parents but there are 'hard-to-reach' parents with children who are perceived as most vulnerable. Explore actions causing reactions. relationships within their play..emerging sense of self. relationships with members of the family and close friends. ' We are asking the children about their feelings. we never used to concentrate on their feelings. linking to the “Intervening Early Schedule”(n=25) . just how they behaved. relationships with other children. feelings.POMS (n = 18). The 'feelings/ emotional barometer' is used by all children and the Family Support Worker uses ‘smileys’ to bring out feelings. relationships with adults. class and school world. how they feel about things. relationship with teacherearly educator.

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