Exciting results of research study shows positive social skills growth for children in child care
Al’s Caring Pals: A Social Skills Toolkit and Training Curriculum for Home Child Care Providers is designed to help family child care providers strengthen young children’s abilities to express feelings appropriately and make healthy choices.
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Sept. 27, 2011 - PRLog -- The Virginia Child Care Resource and Referral Network in partnership with Wingspan, Inc. and the Virginia Department of Social Services conducted a large randomized controlled study of Al’s Caring Pals: A Social Skills Toolkit for Home Child Care Providers was conducted statewide in Virginia during 2010-2011 to determine the program’s effectiveness. Results of this study indicate that children in family home care settings using the Al's Caring Pals program showed greater improvements in their prosocial skills over time than children in the Comparison group. These differences were statistically significant. Behaviors measured include children’s appropriate expression of feelings, demonstration of sensitivity towards others, and use of positive methods of interpersonal problem-solving. Children who participated in Al’s Caring Pals also showed statistically significant reductions in antisocial and aggressive behaviors over time relative to Comparison children, whose behaviors did not change significantly. Examples of antisocial and aggressive behaviors that were assessed include kicking, hitting, pushing, teasing, and bullying others. The study also offered an opportunity to assess changes in providers’ perception of their ability to positively impact children in their care. On a measure of perceived provider self-efficacy, Intervention providers self-reported higher levels of positive beliefs about their ability to influence children in their care than those in the Comparison group. One of the benefits of the combined Al’s Caring Pals training and materials may be the providers’ heightened belief that they are capable of responding to children in ways that lead to positive change. Increases in adults’ sense of efficacy are consistently linked to improved practices. A significant percentage of young children are in family child care homes; yet there is a lack of quality resources and training geared specifically for this setting. Findings suggest that Al’s Caring Pals can help fill this gap. The positive results from this study indicate that Al’s Caring Pals enriches the family child care home environment and helps providers nurture children’s social and emotional development. For more information, contact VACCRRN at 804-285-0846 or visit www.vachildcare.org or Wingspan at 804-967-9002 or visit www.wingspanworks.com.