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KidsMatter Early Childhood Evaluation Report

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beyondblue is delighted to be part of the KidsMatter Early Childhood initiative. We want children to feel good about themselves, enjoy their school years and develop strong healthy friendships and family relationships. We believe this program has the capacity to give children a strong foundation on which to build resilience and good self-esteem, to carry them through adolescence and into adulthood with good mental health. I would like to thank the early childhood and education services, the children and parents who participated in the pilot, for their contribution, and the other organisations involved in the KidsMatter Early Childhood collaboration: the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian Psychological society and Early Childhood Australia. This is a wonderful initiative and I urge all states and territories to invest in their kids' futures by embracing KidsMatter Early Childhood. " Kate Carnell AO, CEO, beyondblue " The Australian Psychological Society is proud to be an integral partner in the successful pilot of the KidsMatter Early Childhood mental health initiative for children in early childhood education and care services. KidsMatter Early Childhood helps services and families to promote positive child development and has been proven to reduce social and emotional difficulties in children most at risk. In addition, the initiative was shown to increase the capacity of services and families to support children's social and emotional development so it benefits the health and wellbeing of children in the long-term. The Australian Psychological Society also wishes to thank the early childhood education and care services and families participating in the pilot for their commitment to the initiative and to children's mental health and wellbeing. " Professor Lyn Littlefield OAM FAPS, Executive Director, Australian Psychological Society " The KidsMatter Early Childhood initiative is the first time where specialist knowledge and expertise in mental health and early childhood has been brought together to deliver a project of such scope in the early childhood education and care sector. This project comes at a time when there is a whole of government focus, through the National Quality Framework, on ensuring high quality outcomes for children using early education and care services. The evaluation demonstrates that KidsMatter Early Childhood can have a significant role to play in the national mission to enhance the quality of early childhood education and care services. Early Childhood Australia would like to thank the children, families and staff of the participating early childhood education and care services for their substantial contribution to the outcomes of the initiative. "
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... One of the children in my room, it took me 12 months to have that conversation because it was never ever the right time and then one time it happened and I was there ready to go, you know [FG5] Educators and other professionals identified an extensive range of programs to support SEL within preschool. The KidsMatter Early Childhood Framework [58] had been utilised by several participants. Other programs which centres were currently or had previously implemented included Animal Fun [59], 1-2-3 Magic [60], Circle of Security [61], PALS Program [62], and Early ABLES [63]. ...
Article
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Early childhood educators play an important role in supporting children’s social and emotional development. While a growing body of research has examined the impact of curriculum-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs on child outcomes, the approaches educators use to strengthen children’s social and emotional functioning through their everyday practices are less defined. This study explored Australian early childhood educators’ perspectives on children’s social and emotional development, the approaches educators use to encourage children’s social and emotional skills, the enablers and barriers to SEL within the preschool environment, and the additional support needed. Thirty Early Childhood Education and Care professionals participated in semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Findings suggest children’s social–emotional development is at the forefront of educator planning, practice, and reflection. Participants described utilising various approaches to support children’s social and emotional skills, embedded within interactions and relationships with children and families. Specifically, strategies could be grouped into four broad categories: a nurturing and responsive educator–child relationship; supporting SEL through everyday interactions and practice; utilising the physical environment to encourage SEL; and working in partnership with caregivers. There was, however, inconsistency in the variety and type of approaches identified. Time constraints, group size, educator confidence and capability, high staff turnover, and limited guidance regarding high-quality social and emotional pedagogy were identified as key barriers. Participants sought practical strategies that could be embedded into daily practice to build upon current knowledge.
... Studies examining universal preventive programs often fail to identify improvement in externalizing problems. 54,118,119 This outcome may be influenced by limited measures available to assess behavioral problems in young children. 120 Moreover, a number of socioecological factors may contribute to the development and maintenance of problematic behaviors and emotions. ...
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Importance Social-emotional competence in early childhood influences long-term mental health and well-being. Interest in the potential to improve child health and educational outcomes through social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings is increasing. Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the social, emotional, and early learning outcomes associated with universal curriculum-based SEL programs delivered to children aged 2 to 6 years in center-based ECEC settings. Data Sources Keyword searches of Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), MEDLINE Complete, PsycINFO, and Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global databases were conducted to identify all relevant studies published from January 1, 1995, through December 31, 2017. Study Selection Studies included in this review examined universal curriculum-based SEL intervention delivered to children aged 2 to 6 years in a center-based ECEC setting. All assessed individual-level social and/or emotional skill after the SEL intervention and used an experimental or quasi-experimental design (ie, studies that did not or were not able to randomly allocate participants to intervention and control groups) with a control group. Data Extraction and Synthesis A total of 13 035 records were screened, of which 362 were identified for full-text review. A systematic literature review was conducted on 79 studies. Multilevel random-effects meta-analyses were conducted on 63 eligible studies from October 2 through 18, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures Social competence, emotional competence, behavioral self-regulation, behavior and emotional challenges, and early learning outcomes. Results This review identified 79 unique experimental or quasi-experimental studies evaluating the effect of SEL interventions on preschooler outcomes, including a total of 18 292 unique participants. Sixty-three studies were included in this meta-analysis. Compared with control participants, children in intervention conditions showed significant improvement in social competence (Cohen d [SE], 0.30; [0.06]; 95% CI, 0.18-0.42; P < .001), emotional competence (Cohen d [SE], 0.54 [0.16]; 95% CI, 0.22-0.86; P < .001), behavioral self-regulation (Cohen d [SE], 0.28 [0.09]; 95% CI, 0.11-0.46; P < .001), and early learning skills (Cohen d [SE], 0.18 [0.08]; 95% CI, 0.02-0.33; P = .03) and reduced behavioral and emotional challenges (Cohen d [SE], 0.19 [0.04]; 95% CI, 0.11-0.28; P < .001). Several variables appeared to moderate program outcomes, including intervention leader, type of assessment, informant, child age, and study quality. Conclusions and Relevance According to results of this study, social and emotional learning programs appeared to deliver at a relatively low intensity may be an effective way to increase social competence, emotional competence, behavioral self-regulation, and early learning outcomes and reduce behavioral and emotional difficulties in children aged 2 to 6 years. Social and emotional learning programs appear to be particularly successful at increasing emotional knowledge, understanding, and regulation.
... The extent to which a country is centralised or decentralised in its SEL approaches has a significant impact on research and implementation. Whereas evaluation of SEL programs has been a major focus in the US (because, as Humphrey argues, there is a need for SEL program creators to justify why their program is superior to others), there has been less evaluation occurring in countries like Australia (however, see Slee et al.'s 2009Slee et al.'s , 2012 evaluation of KidsMatter). This is an important contextual characteristic when considering the SEL research and practice in the Australian context, as well as directions for future research (discussed below). ...
Book
Around the globe, there is a growing awareness of the importance of addressing students’ social and emotional development and wellbeing during schooling. Although the bulk of the work in this area has been conducted in North America and Europe, there is now a burgeoning interest in this topic in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific. This book is the first ever to provide a timely and important collection of diverse perspectives on and approaches to social and emotional learning in the Australian and Asia Pacific context. Adopting a broad view of social and emotional learning, the book explores positive psychology, belonging, teachers’ professional development, pre-service training and post-initial training in Australia and in neighbouring communities such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, and other Pacific nations. "Frydenberg, Martin, and Collie have provided an incredible service by bringing together in a single well planned scholarly volume an incredible and well balanced group of senior and early career cutting edge researchers from Australia, Asia and the Asia Pacific area tackling approaches and key issues of social and emotional learning. Their much needed volume links research on key factors, such as differing perspectives, measurement issues, the identification of at-risk children, teachers' social and emotional development, and these and other across the cultures of an increasingly vibrant and developing geographic region. It is indeed encouraging to gain the sense of depth and breadth of ongoing research that the volume gives. " John Roodenburg PhD FAPS MCEDP MCCOUNSP, Monash University Melbourne "Social and Emotional Learning is understood to be a crucial part of the school curriculum. This book covers the field, with a refreshing focus on work being done in Australia and in neighbouring countries. For school psychologists, the book helps us to understand how SEL can help at every level – from working with individuals, small groups, whole classes, or with the entire school. Our work with vulnerable students, individually or in small groups, is always more effective when embedded in the broader context of Social and Emotional Learning." Paul Bertoia FAPS MCEDP, Senior School Psychologist “This collected volume of researchers from Australia and the Asia-Pacific provides a thorough review of important educational, social, and emotional development issues for practitioners and researchers around the world. Readers will greatly benefit from the breadth and depth of treatment in each of the topics covered.” Kit-Tai Hau, PhD, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Chapter
There is a growing awareness on the need to promote positive mental health as well as prevent the development of mental health problems in children, as half of mental health difficulties develop before adulthood (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2012). Schools have the privileged position to become vehicles for wellbeing and mental health as they have access to all children and young people (Bodisch Lynch, Geller, & Schmidt, 2004).
Chapter
In recent decades, the World Health Organization has been actively engaged in the promotion of mental health in schools, particularly in view of the concern about mental health difficulties in children and young people. About 20% of school children across different cultures experience mental health problems during the course of any given year and may need the use of mental health service (WHO, 2013).
Chapter
There has long been an understanding of the impact of the family situation on children’s school achievement across cultures and contexts and consequently also of the importance of involving parents in their children’s education. Ecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1989) further highlighted the importance of the child’s interactions within the different microsystems as well as the impact of the interactions between the different microsystems such as home and school at mesosystem level.
Chapter
Universal interventions in mental health promotion in schools are increasingly gaining salience as schools seek to provide more relevant and meaningful education matched to the realities of the twenty first century. A universal perspective of mental health is focused on mental health promotion for all students through a whole school approach.
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Increasingly in Australia and overseas, teachers are being asked to deliver interventions designed and developed outside the education arena to improve the mental health and well-being of children. Examples of such school-based interventions include the National Drug Education Strategy (Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, 2011), KidsMatter Primary (Slee et al., 2009), KidsMatter Early Childhood (Slee et al., 2012), MindMatters (Australian Council for Educational Research, 2010), and the school-based eating disorder prevention program (Watson & Elphick, 2010).
Chapter
The science of prevention and early intervention has taken considerable steps forward in the last decade, including a growing research literature (e.g., see Kelly & Perkins, 2012) and practical advice for policy makers, teachers and educators (e.g., see CASEL, 2016; KidsMatter, n.d.). In this chapter we discuss one area of mental health promotion and early intervention, namely, collaboration between parents/carers and the leaders, teachers, educators and other staff at their child’s school and/or early childhood education and care service.
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In this report, Ball and Darling-Hammond discuss the relationship between teacher knowledge and student performance; they summarize what the research suggest about what kinds of teacher education and professional development teachers need in order to learn how ot teach to high standards; and they describe what states are doing to provide these opportunities for teacher learning, and with what effects.
Conference Paper
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This paper reports data from a questionnaire received from the parents/caregivers of 2076 students in 100 KidsMatter Initiative (KMI) primary schools across Australia. KidsMatter is a mental health initiative for primary schools based upon a model that supports early intervention to provide personal, social and economic benefits. Outcomes from the initial trial of the KMI will inform policies and practices concerning mental health promotion in schools across Australia. We asked parents/caregivers about factors residing in the school, the family and the child that are hypothesised to influence student mental health. School factors included parenting education and support; a positive school community, and early intervention for students at risk. Parents/caregivers were also asked about their own parenting competencies and their children's social, emotional and behavioural competencies. We used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire {Goodman, 2005 #12} as the outcome measure of student mental health. We report summary statistics of parent/caregiver responses and use structural equation modelling to examine relationships between school, family, child factors and parent ratings of student mental health.
Conference Paper
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The KidsMatter Mental Health Promotion and Early Intervention Pilot Initiative (KMI) was rolled out across 100 Australian schools in 2007-2008. The evaluation targeted a stratified random sample of 76 students in each of the 100 schools. The KMI focussed upon four components of school-based influence, namely, developing a positive school community; regularly teaching social and emotional learning skills to all students; providing parenting information and support; and early intervention for students considered to be at risk of social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. An extensive evaluation of the impact of the KMI was undertaken using four major data sources. Questionnaires concerned with the implementation of the initiative and with judgements of students’ mental health status were completed on multiple occasions by teachers and parents/caregivers. Regular reports by project officers involved in the KMI provided a second source of data. Toward the end of the project interviews were conducted with students, teachers and parents in 10% of the schools. Summary reports from school leaders constituted the final data source. In this report we discuss findings from our analysis of the questionnaire data. The analysis focuses on the four key components of the KMI conceptual model and their relationships to student mental health outcomes using structural equation modelling with asymptotic distribution-free (ADF) estimation to take into account the non-parametric (highly skewed) nature of the data. Recommendations for policy and practice concerning mental health promotion initiatives in schools are made.
Conference Paper
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This presentation touches on the key findings of the KidsMatter Primary evaluation, as presented in the final report, and also considers recent work and how this might inform the directions that KidsMatter may take into the future.
Conference Paper
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First view of the main findings from the KidsMatter Primary evaluation
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This presentation provides a chronological dialog of the initial research undertaken by the Ministerial Advisory Committee: Students with Disabilities (MACSWD) on mental health services for children and students with a disability. The Committee found that the body of professional knowledge and information on the combined topic of disability and mental health was still emerging and that people with a disability experienced higher than average prevalence of mental health disorders. At the same time, the KidsMatter Primary Initiative – a mental health initiative focusing on early intervention for primary school students – was being piloted across Australia and evaluated by Flinders University. MAC:SWD and Flinders University formed a partnership to investigate the effect of the KidsMatter Initiative for students with a disability in South Australia. The resulting analysis of the South Australian KidsMatter data, involving 555 students in 13 primary schools, confirmed the Committee’s earlier findings that children and students with a disability are at increased risk of experiencing mental health problems. The study also showed a positive and significant effect of KidsMatter for this specific cohort. The combined topic of disability and mental health is emerging as an area of research and underpins the need for the collaborative partnership across disciplines and services.
Chapter
There have been various terms and definitions of social and emotional education (SEE), such as social and emotional learning (SEL), social and emotional literacy, social and emotional well-being and mental health amongst others. This chapter presents social and emotional education as a multidisciplinary, integrative construct drawing from six major perspectives in children’s health and well-being, namely social and emotional learning, positive education, mindfulness, resilience, inclusive education and caring communities. It then reviews the literature on the effective processes underlying SEE in schools and presents a whole-school, multilevel and evidence-based framework for the promotion of social and emotional education in primary school.