The ability of young children to manage their emotions and behaviors and to make meaningful friendships is an important prerequisite for school readiness and academic success. Socially competent children are also more academically successful and poor social skills are a strong predictor of academic failure. This article describes The Incredible Years Dinosaur Social Skills and Problem Solving Child Training program, which teaches skills such as emotional literacy, empathy or perspective taking, friendship and communication skills, anger management, interpersonal problem solving, and how to be successful at school. The program was first evaluated as a small group treatment program for young children who were diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders. More recently the program has been adapted for use by preschool and elementary teachers as a prevention curriculum designed to increase the social, emotional, and academic competence, and decrease problem behaviors of all children in the classroom. The content, methods, and teaching processes of this classroom curriculum are discussed.
Incredible Years: Teachers
Christopher is a very active, outspoken 4 year old. He frequently engages in aggressive behavior and verbal outbursts, and to outside observers he looks angry most of the time…
This article describes an evidence-based intervention that was designed to increase children?s social and emotional competence, decrease problem behaviors, and increase academic competence. The Incredible Years Dinosaur School Social Skills and Problem Solving curriculum (Webster- Stratton, 1990, Webster-Stratton & Reid, 2003) has been shown in two randomized control group trials to decrease aggression and promote social skills in young children (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1997; Webster-Stratton, Reid & Hammond, 2001b). Originally designed as a small group treatment for children diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder, a revention/intervention classroom-based version of this curriculum has recently been evaluated for all children (ages 3-8 years) targeting high-risk populations. Findings from a randomized, control group intervention study in 160 classrooms (including Head Start and kindergarten classes) with 1746 children indicated that classrooms who offered the Dinosaur School program had teachers who were significantly more nurturing and consistent with discipline, focused more on promoting social and emotional behaviors and were less harsh and critical in their interactions with children. Compared with control classrooms, children in intervention classrooms where the Dinosaur Curriculum was delivered were more cooperative with teachers and peers, were observed to do more problem solving and had higher cognitive and school readiness scores (Webster-Stratton & Reid, 2006). Additionally, a pilot study was conducted investigating the effectiveness of this intervention for use with children with special needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. Results included increasing the receptive and expressive feeling word vocabulary, increasing appropriate and prosocial responses to interpersonal problem situations, as well as increasing engagement during large group circle times (Joseph & Strain, 2004).