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- From Theory to Practice: A First Look at Success for Life - A Brain Research-Based Early Childhood Program
- Success For Life (SFL) is a brain research-based program for children, birth through age six. This research examined the development and implementation of SFL in 13 early childhood settings. Participants were 24 female early childhood teachers and 146 (73 male) children. Teachers included seven infant, four toddler, nine preschool and four kindergarten teachers. Children included infants(n=29), toddlers(n=27), and prek/kindergartners (n=90). A Request for Proposals was disseminated to identify possible implementation sites. After participation was confirmed, teachers attended a full day's training which included a description of brain development/function, the latest brain research, how to implement SFL and other logistics of the study. Program implementation occurred over approximately four months. A field site coordinator visited each site bimonthly to provide on-going technical assistance. This was an intervention project with a pre and post implementation design. Four instruments were used: a teacher questionnaire, a classroom environment measure, a child measure and teacher journals. Results suggested that teachers became more knowledgeable about brain development research and about how children grow and learn. Teachers were better able to make connections between brain research findings and how to apply these findings to their programs and daily activities. Likewise, the environment measure indicated that teachers were better able to arrange environments for learning. They reported that children showed significant increases in skills development and performance in the following areas: physical mastery, social relations/interactions, cognitive development, and language/communications. Additionally, teachers reported improvements in emotional expression and well-being among infants and toddlers. Toddlers and preschoolers showed significant increases in creative/ artistic expression. Finally, teachers indicated that preschoolers showed increases in initiative, use of logic/mathematics skills, and musical coordination and movement. Research findings suggest that Success For Life is able to bridge the gap between theory and practice and benefits children, teachers and programs.