Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Moving on up : children's experiences of transitions to new classrooms in childcare settings
    The present study aimed to answer the following research question: What are children’s experiences of transitions to new classrooms in childcare settings? A short-term longitudinal study in Dublin, Ireland followed 7 children (3 boys) from 5 childcare settings for 6 weeks as they moved to the last classroom in the setting. . Children ranged in age from 32 – 44 months (M = 36.42, SD = 4.64). Results of the observation revealed that just over half of the children and all of the boys exhibited increases in the proportion of their behavior that was coded as anxious following the move to their new classroom. The parents of boys were also more likely to report a negative impact of the transition. As well as these negative changes parents and children also highlighted the new learning opportunities that the transition had brought. The findings suggest a possible gender difference whereby boys appear to be more vulnerable to the effects of transitions, it is possible that this relates to boys’ general susceptibility to psychosocial stress.
  • Publication
    A Comparison of Saliva Collection Methods With Preschool Children: The perspectives of Children, Parents, and Childcare Practitioners
    Saliva offers developmental researchers and pediatric clinicians significant opportunities to measure numerous biological markers. However, many preschool-aged children refuse to participate in saliva collection. Identifying collection methods known to be acceptable to participants may help in maximizing participation. To this end, this study aimed to determine the relative acceptability of three different collection methods (passive drool, hydrocellulose microsponges, and polymer swabs) to children and their caregivers. Interviews were carried out with 15 preschool children (age range 32–66 months, M = 43.65, SD = 8.45), their parents, and childcare practitioners. Although children reported no overall preference for a specific method, parents and practitioners selected hydrocellulose microsponges most often as their preferred method.
      176Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Can Early Intervention Policies Improve Well-being? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2014-10) ; ; ; ;
    Many authors have proposed incorporating measures of well-being into evaluations of public policy. Yet few evaluations use experimental design or examine multiple aspects of wellbeing, thus the causal impact of public policies on well-being is largely unknown. In this paper we examine the effect of an intensive early intervention program on maternal wellbeing in a targeted disadvantaged community. Using a randomized controlled trial design we estimate and compare treatment effects on global well-being using measures of life satisfaction, experienced well-being using both the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) and a measure of mood yesterday, and also a standardized measure of parenting stress. The intervention has no significant impact on negative measures of well-being, such as experienced negative affect as measured by the DRM and global measures of well-being such as life satisfaction or a global measure of parenting stress. Significant treatment effects are observed on experienced measures of positive affect using the DRM, and a measure of mood yesterday. The DRM treatment effects are primarily concentrated during times spent without the target child which may reflect the increased effort and burden associated with additional parental investment. Our findings suggest that a maternal-focused intervention may produce meaningful improvements in experienced well-being. Incorporating measures of experienced affect may thus alter cost-benefit calculations for public policies.
  • Publication
    Considering the realities of salivary research with young children: What's spit all about?
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2012-07-16) ;
    Over the last two decades, interest in salivary research in the social sciences has grown rapidly. Salivary research is appealing as a quick, inexpensive and non-invasive means of determining a range of biological markers, which offer insight into a variety of human responses, for example, stress. To the social researcher these advantages provide exciting possibilities for new transactions between social, behavioural and biological models of development. Salivary research is especially attractive to those working with children. Indeed, as well as being non-invasive, saliva also provides an opportunity to measure variables with young children where self-report measures may be inappropriate. Yet, for all its appeal the reality of saliva collection with younger populations appears far from straightforward. This article draws on two research examples to illustrate some of the methodological, ethical and practical issues pertinent to salivary research with young children. Specifically, it considers barriers to participation and possible strategies for promoting the methodological and ethical basis of salivary research. In doing so, it provides starting points for discussion in what has become a critical methodological debate.
    Scopus© Citations 1  450
  • Publication
    Reconstructing readiness: Young children’s priorities for their early school adjustment
    Young children in communities facing socioeconomic disadvantage are increasingly targeted by school readiness interventions. Interventions are stronger if they address stakeholders’ priorities, yet children’s priorities for early school adjustment are rarely accounted for in intervention design including selection of outcome measures. The Children’s Thoughts about School Study (CTSS) examined young children’s accounts of their early school experiences, and their descriptions of what a new school starter would need to know. Mixed-method interviews were conducted with 42 kindergarten children in a socioeconomically deprived suburb of Dublin, Ireland. First, inductive thematic analysis identified 25 priorities across four domains: feeling able and enthusiastic for school; navigating friendships and victimisation; supportive environments with opportunities to play; bridging school and family life. Second, deductive analysis compared children’s priorities at item level against a school readiness outcome battery. Children’s priorities were assigned to three groups: (1) assessed by outcome measures (core academic competencies, aspects of self-regulation); (2) partially assessed (self-efficacy, social skills for friendship formation and avoiding victimisation, creative thinking, play); and (3) not assessed by outcome measures (school liking, school environment, family-school involvement). This analysis derived from children’s own perspectives suggests that readiness interventions aiming to support early school adjustment would benefit from considering factors children consider salient. It offers recommendations for advancing conceptual frameworks, improving assessment, and identifying new targets for supporting children and schools. In doing so we provide a platform for children’s priorities to be integrated into the policies and practices that shape their early lives.
    Scopus© Citations 19  292
  • Publication
    Be good, know the rules’: Children’s perspectives on starting school and self-regulation
    Despite the importance of self-regulation for school readiness and success across the lifespan, little is known about children’s conceptions of this important ability. Using mixed-method interviews, this research examined kindergarten children’s (n = 57) perspectives on self-regulation in a disadvantaged area in Dublin, Ireland. Children depicted school as requiring regulation of their emotional, cognitive and behavioural responses. They characterised school as a dynamic setting, placing emphasis on the regulatory challenges of the outdoor environment. Children also described difficulties associated with navigating complex social interactions, often without assistance from external supports. The results inform strategies to support children’s emerging self-regulation abilities.
    Scopus© Citations 9  666