ECCAO©: Preliminary Results
As parents/caregivers you may be curious about the impact ECCAO© has made thus far on children in the participating school systems. The preliminary results look promising. We found that children who are part of the ECCAO© program are more cooperative within the classroom (for example: sharing more with their classmates or following instructions from teachers or staff) than those who are not. In addition to this finding, ECCAO© has also found that there is less physical and verbal aggression in the boys and girls who are part of this program. In other words, these children are less likely to use physical contact to get their way or resolve conflicts with anger in their voice or to say hurtful things than the children who are not part of ECCAO©.
While cooperative behaviors increased, so has uncooperative behavior. However, we are not alarmed or discouraged by this finding. This increase can be explained by the idea that children at this phase of development are taught the difficult task of making their own choices and taking the necessary consequences of those choices. For example, the child may choose not to cooperate with a teacher/staff/fellow student. These results are to be expected, especially in boys, because our culture sees boys as being more aggressive than girls (Ironmonger, Raina, & Dwyer, 2007). It is very important that children do make mistakes and learn from them and ECCAO© hopes that the education parents and teachers receive will help this process. In time, children who have been part of the program longer should show less and less uncooperative behavior.
At this time we have had unexpected circumstances that we think you should be aware of - the loss of trained teachers and personnel due to school funding and the parenting education program (Becoming a Love & Logic Parent®) not being offered regularly. This has led to a leveling off of physical and verbal aggression in observed children. This confirms the initial predictions that the ECCAO© training will be effective in decreasing aggressive behavior because once training of parents and teachers stopped, aggressive behaviors did not continue to decrease. But do not worry because this trend should be reversed by the new rounds of teacher and school personnel training and the next offering of parenting education classes in the future.
ECCAO© continues to improve the methods used in training and observation within the program. For instance, we are now choosing certain children to steadily observe (instead of randomly picking children in the program), which will allow us to look at the effect of specific teachers on specific groups of children. Another change is that in-home observations designed to better understand the parent-child relationship and ECCAO©’s impact on the child began in the summer of 2008. We appreciate your time and concern in regards to ECCAO© and we will continually try to update you on how we are doing!