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Intervention Summary

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Project KIND

Project KIND (Keys to Improvement Necessary for Development) is a life skills curriculum designed for kindergarten students to increase their school success by promoting social, emotional, and behavioral skills. The curriculum addresses core areas of social and emotional learning such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decisionmaking. Project KIND consists of 12 weekly, 30-minute lessons in which students learn strategies to manage their behaviors by participating in highly interactive activities that incorporate literature, modeling, singing, and dialoging. The curriculum focuses on strengthening five behaviors, called behavioral keys: respect, manners, smart choices, cooperation, and communication. Each of these keys is addressed over two lessons. The final two lessons, called Keys to Success, provide an overview and reinforcement of all the behavioral keys. A newsletter is sent home after the completion of each pair of lessons to inform parents about what their child has learned. Parents are provided parenting tips and an interactive activity to reinforce and encourage use of the social and emotional skills and positive behavior learned at school. Project KIND can be implemented by trained facilitators or school personnel (e.g., teachers, guidance counselors).

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: February 2014
1: Classroom behavior
Outcome Categories Social functioning
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Data were not reported/available.
Races/Ethnicities Data were not reported/available.
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Implementation History Since its development in 2003, Project KIND has been delivered to an estimated 5,750 students in 4 school districts in Ohio. Project KIND has been evaluated in more than 20 research studies.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: February 2014

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Leahy, P. J. (2010). Project KIND evaluation results: Fall 2010. Unpublished manuscript.

Supplementary Materials

Leahy, P. J. (2010). Project KIND evaluation results: Fall 2009. Unpublished manuscript.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Classroom behavior
Description of Measures Classroom behavior was assessed using the Project KIND Child Assessment Instrument, a 16-item measure of 4 behavioral dimensions related to children's ability to act appropriately in the classroom: showing respect, using good manners, making smart choices, and getting along in the classroom setting. Sample items include "Student uses respectful language in their interactions with others" and "Student is attentive and listens when others speak." For each item, the teacher rated the child's mastery of the behavior using 1 (yes), 2 (emerging), or 3 (no). Total scores range from 16 to 48, with lower scores indicating greater mastery.
Key Findings A study compared intervention group classrooms that received Project KIND (17 kindergarten classrooms in 4 schools in the same school district) with control group classrooms that did not receive the intervention (5 kindergarten classrooms in 1 school in another school district). In an analysis that controlled for pretest differences in classroom behavior, the intervention group had significantly greater improvement in classroom behavior than the control group from pretest to posttest (p < .001) and from pretest to follow-up 6 weeks after the conclusion of the intervention (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 1.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) Data not reported/available Data not reported/available

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Classroom behavior 2.0 2.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.8 1.5

Study Strengths

The measure used to assess classroom behavior demonstrated good internal consistency and has face validity. The fact that the instrument proved sensitive to treatment effects provides additional evidence of the instrument's validity. The intervention was delivered by trained staff.

Study Weaknesses

The measurement instrument is not standardized. Minimal information was provided about intervention fidelity, and there was no discussion of fidelity instruments or checks to ensure that key elements of the intervention were consistently implemented. Questionnaires missing a response on four or more items were excluded from the analysis, and the number of these cases is unknown. Likewise, no information was provided on the extent or handling of attrition, nor on whether there was a difference in missing data or attrition between the intervention and control group. Potential confounds were inadequately addressed. There was only one comparison school, and while one important potential confound (percentage of students in the school receiving free and reduced lunch) was determined comparable across the intervention and control schools, other potential group differences were not addressed. The pretest scores on the classroom behavior measurement indicated that the groups were significantly different in their classroom behavior, suggesting the possibility that other differences existed at pretest. Since the intervention group had less mastery of appropriate classroom behavior than the control group at pretest, but improved to the same level as the control group over time, it is possible that the amount of time in kindergarten could account for the intervention group's improvement in classroom behavior. The statistical analyses used were not appropriate for the repeated measures design of the study.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: February 2014

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Community Solutions Association. (2013). Project KIND, Keys to Improvement Necessary for Development: A kindergarten curriculum [Binder]. Warren, OH: Author.

Community Solutions Association. (2013). Project KIND, Keys to Improvement Necessary for Development: A kindergarten curriculum [CD]. Warren, OH: Author.

Community Solutions Association. (2013). Project KIND resources: Family newsletters, picture cards [CD]. Warren, OH: Author.

Community Solutions Association. (2013). Training manual, Project KIND, Keys to Improvement Necessary for Development: A kindergarten curriculum. Warren, OH: Author.

Trade books:

  • Meiners, C. J. (2005). Know and follow the rules. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.
  • Parker, D. (2004). I can make good choices! New York, NY: Scholastic.
  • Parker, D. (2004). I care about others! New York, NY: Scholastic.
  • Parker, D. (2004). I have manners! New York, NY: Scholastic.
  • Shaw, F. (2006). Sharing: How kindness grows. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest Children's Books.

Wood, C. (2007). Four-year-olds. In Yardsticks: Children in the classroom ages 4-14 (3rd ed., pp. 47-55). Turner Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

Wood, C. (2007). Five-year-olds. In Yardsticks: Children in the classroom ages 4-14 (3rd ed., pp. 57-71). Turner Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

Wood, C. (2007). Six-year-olds. In Yardsticks: Children in the classroom ages 4-14 (3rd ed., pp. 73-83). Turner Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

Other materials

  • Respect poster
  • Respect poster images
  • Signs poster
  • Treasure map keys
  • Treasure map poster

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.8 3.5 3.3 3.5

Dissemination Strengths

The materials are well constructed, visually appealing, and tailored to the target audience. The lesson plans are well organized and easy to use. For the implementation training and the training of trainers, the materials are well designed, very detailed, and easy to follow. The trainings involve interactive exercises, such as sharing in small and large groups and role-playing, that require trainees to demonstrate they are learning how to deliver the intervention. An observation checklist is available that measures how well teachers deliver the intervention and model Project KIND behavior. The pretest/posttest assessment tool that is available links key lessons to the intended behavioral outcomes of the students.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Although phone consultation is available, there is no written guidance (i.e., frequently asked questions, testimonials) to help new implementation sites as issues and questions arise during implementation. Written instructions on how to use the pretest/posttest assessment tool are not provided.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Project KIND curriculum kit (includes curriculum binder, training manual, implementation and observation checklists, posters, images, and trade books) $450 each Yes
2-day, on- or off-site implementation training $700 per person for up to 15 people, plus travel expenses Yes
3-day, on- or off-site training of trainers $1,000 per person for up to 15 people, plus travel expenses No
Ongoing technical assistance via phone or email Free No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Leahy, P. J. (2012). "Project Kind" evaluation results, 2005-2011. Unpublished manuscript.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Kathleen P. LaMarco, M.A.
(330) 394-9090 ext 113
klamarco@csatrumbull.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Peter J. Leahy, Ph.D.
(330) 972-6871
leahy@uakron.edu

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.