Parents and the preschool PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) curriculum

Kelly, Barbara and Edgerton, Carole and Graham, Seonaid and Robertson, Elaine and Syme, Barry (2015) Parents and the preschool PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) curriculum. Journal of Children's Services, 10 (3). pp. 231-241. ISSN 1746-6660

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    Abstract

    Purpose - The purpose of this paperis to consider evidence on the effectiveness of preschool social and emotionalinterventions in preschool contexts and focuses on the application of an implementation framework described in relation to the Preschool Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) curriculum. Active parent involvementand engagement were not included in the implementation but preschool establishments spontaneously involved parents or parents sought involvement, creating innovations in delivery and context. The need for structured parent involvement and its impact are considered in relation to evidence on integrated programmes and different models of parent involvement. Design/methodology/approach - This paper reports on an interim evaluation of practitioners' and parents' experiences of the implementation processes, focusing on the involvement andengagement of parents. Findings - Evidence for the rationale for parent engagement in this context is substantiated. The Preschool PATHS curriculum is known to impact on children's social competence, problem behaviour and, in the early school context, attainment. However the programme does not target parent skill directly or address parent behaviours that mayaffect children's social competence and behaviour. It is suggested that theprogramme needs to be extended to provide structured input for parents via training and information similar to that provided for practitioners. A pilot study using integrated parent training material and supported by an implementation framework is advised. Originality/value - The paper describes a flexible, evidence-based framework supporting replicable processes useful to service providers across programmes and contexts. An "innovation" (a term used to describe deviations from programme fidelity or implementation standards) is explored which affected the creation of parallel parent involvement strategies but not the delivery of the programme itself which was carefully monitored. While adaptations and deviations are inevitable, some flag up areas where development or issues of contextual fit need to be addressed and might, as in this case, inform better integration of evidence and practice development.