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IES Grant

Title: Building Social Competence for School Success through a Continuum of Positive Behavior Supports (CPBS)
Center: NCSER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Snell, Martha Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 6/1/2008 to 5/31/2011 Award Amount: $1,493,224
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A080016
Description:

Purpose: A delay in social skills may interfere with all areas of learning and academic achievement. Problem behaviors not resolved in preschool often continue into elementary school and adolescence. Young children who manifest problem behavior are more likely to drop out of school when they become older, become delinquents in adolescence, abuse drugs and alcohol, join gangs, exhibit violent and abusive behavior in adulthood, and be incarcerated as adults. Therefore, it is important to design interventions that prevent the development of problem behaviors in young at-risk children.

This research team is addressing this need by developing a comprehensive intervention, Continuum of Positive Behavior Support, designed to build preschool children's social skills and reduce problem behaviors. The purpose of this study is to develop and test the feasibility of using Continuum of Positive Behavior Support in Head Start classrooms.

Project Activities: The Continuum of Positive Behavior Support intervention will include universal strategies to be used with all children in the classroom and individualized interventions for children who exhibit problem behaviors that persist despite treatment with universal strategies. A three phase development process is planned. During the first year, an initial version of the intervention package and teacher training materials will be developed. During years two and three, an iterative process will be used to further refine the intervention and to test the feasibility of its use in Head Start classrooms. Pretest-postest comparisons will be made for each classroom to determine whether there are changes in classroom quality, classroom behavior management practices, use of Continuum of Positive Behavior Support strategies, and children's behavior.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed intervention intended to build preschool children's social skills and reduce problem behaviors, published reports, and presentations.

Setting: The research will occur in Virginia.

Population: Approximately 140 staff from five collaborating Head Start programs will participate in this study. These programs represent diversity in geographical areas in Virginia. A minimum of 10% of the enrolled children have disabilities but the five participating programs often exceed this requirement.

Intervention: The Continuum of Positive Behavior Support includes two levels of intervention: universal interventions that are used with all children in the classroom and intensive individualized interventions necessary for children whose problem behavior persists despite the use of universal strategies. Each level of intervention will include strategies for preventing and responding to problem behavior and teaching social competence. The universal level will involve strategies for designing classroom environments and activities; teaching self-regulation skills; and promoting positive child-teacher relationships, peer interaction, friendships, and the use of appropriate behavior in problem situations. The universal level will also involve the use of the Social Pragmatic Storybook Intervention. The Social Pragmatic Storybook Intervention includes a series of lessons using storybooks, thematic play materials, and an organized play session to teach children social pragmatic skills. To address the needs of children whose problem behavior is not responsive to the universal practices, an individualized Positive Behavior Support will be created for each child. Educators will be given instructions for how to use a team-based process to develop a Positive Behavior Support plan and how to evaluate whether it is improving children's behavior outcomes.

Research Design and Methods: A three phase development process is planned. During the first year, an initial version of the intervention package and teacher training materials will be developed. During years two and three, an iterative process will be used to further refine the intervention and to test the feasibility of its use in Head Start classrooms. In the second year, each component of the intervention will be implemented in five classrooms and refined. In the third year, the entire intervention will be implemented in ten classrooms and tested for its feasibility. In addition, data will be collected in the third year to document use of the intervention and children's behavioral changes using a multiple probe single subject design.

Control Condition: Observations of baseline performance in each of the classrooms will be conducted.

Key Measures: Data on teachers' current practices, classroom management, social competence instruction and beliefs about discipline will be collected. In addition, the researchers will collect data on the early childhood classroom quality and fidelity of implementation for components of the Continuum of Positive Behavior Support and the entire Continuum of Positive Behavior Support intervention. Finally, teacher-child relationships and measures of child behavior (e.g., daily discipline records, observation of intervals of problem behavior) will be collected.

Data Analytic Strategy: Pretest-postest comparisons will be made for each classroom to determine whether there are changes in classroom quality, classroom behavior management practices, use of Continuum of Positive Behavior Support strategies, and children's behavior.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Snell, M.E., Berlin, R.A., Voorhees, M.D., Stanton-Chapman, T.L., and Hadden, S. (2012). A Survey of Preschool Staff Concerning Problem Behavior and Its Prevention in Head Start Classrooms. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14: 98–107. doi:10.1177/1098300711416818

Snell, M.E., Stanton-Chapman, T.C., Doswell, L.C., and Walker, V. (2013). A Review of 20 Years of Research on Professional Development Interventions for Preschool Teachers and Staff. Early Child Development and Care, 183(7): 857–873. doi:10.1080/03004430.2012.702112

Snell, M.E., Voorhees, M.D., Berlin, R.A., Stanton-Chapman, T.L., Hadden, S., and McCarty, J. (2012). Use of Interview and Observation to Clarify Reported Practices of Head Start Staff Concerning Problem Behavior: Implications for Programs and Training. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14: 108–117. doi:10.1177/1098300711416819

Snell, M.E., Voorhees, M.D., Walker, V., Berlin, R, Jamison, K.R. and Stanton-Chapman, T.L. (2014). A Demonstration of the Universal Problem-Solving Approach to Address Children's Inappropriate Behavior in Head Start Classrooms. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 34(1): 4–15. doi:10.1177/0271121413491836

Stanton-Chapman, T.L. ,Voorhees, M.D. and Snell, M.E. (2014). Supporting Head Start Staff to Address Children's Social Skills. National Head Start Association Dialog: A Research to Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, 17: 98–102.

Stanton-Chapman, T.L., and Hadden, D.S. (2011). Encouraging Peer Interactions in Preschool Classrooms: The Role of the Teacher. Young Exceptional Children, 14(1): 17–28. doi:10.1177/1096250610395458

Stanton-Chapman, T.L., Voorhees, M.D., Berlin, R., Snell, M. E., and Forston, L.D. (2014). Results of a Survey and Follow-Up Interview With Head Start Staff Concerning Social Skills Instruction in Preschool Classrooms. National Head Start Association Dialog: A Research to Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, 17: 36–55.

Voorhees, M.D., Walker, V., Snell, M.E., and Smith, C. (2013). A Demonstration of Individualized Positive Behavior Support Interventions by Head Start Staff to Address Children's Challenging Behavior. Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 38(3): 173–185.


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