The study was conducted in kindergarten classrooms in 22 elementary schools in three low-income, urban school districts.
Of the 345 students in the analytic sample with valid data on at least one follow-up assessment (spring of kindergarten or fall of first grade), 91% were Black or Hispanic, and 87% qualified for free or reduced-price lunch programs.
INSIGHTS is a temperament-based program to support the development of low-income students at risk for academic and behavioral difficulties in elementary school. The program aims to improve the fit between the classroom environment and students’ individual temperaments (as measured by the School-Aged Temperament Inventory) to enhance their behavioral engagement and ultimately their academic outcomes. Parents and teachers are trained to match a student’s temperament to one of four typologies, which can guide the choice of strategies for learning and self-regulation, and to use a “scaffold-and-stretch approach” when students encounter challenges. During weekly meetings over a 10-week period, teachers, parents, and students are taught to recognize four temperament types, the strengths and weaknesses of each, and how to select strategies to match temperaments. Student sessions were 45 minutes long, were conducted in the classroom, and focused on empathy and self-regulation using puppets, workbooks, flash cards, and videos. Teachers and parents attended 2-hour meetings focused on increasing responsiveness to various temperaments using a structured curriculum. One meeting was jointly held with parents and teachers, and the others were separate teacher sessions focused on classroom management and parent sessions focused on parenting skills. Both teachers and parents received incentives for attending.
Students in the comparison schools participated in a 10-week afterschool reading program, and their teachers attended two early literacy workshops, which were also presented to parents. As with the intervention group, both teachers and parents received incentives for attending.
Support for implementation
The eight INSIGHTS facilitators attended a semester-long graduate course before conducting the intervention. Each school was assigned one facilitator who worked with the teachers, parents, and students at that school. Facilitators followed scripts, used checklists, and documented sessions to maintain fidelity to the program model. Facilitators participated in weekly supervision sessions with the program developer, in which they discussed challenges, implementation logistics, participant concerns, and deviations from the program model.