As part of the DECA Preschool Program, the Devereux Reflective Checklist for Teaching Practices is designed to promote the quality of the early childhood classroom environment by helping staff identify and improve classroom practices related to positive social and emotional development in children. The Reflective Checklist covers teaching practices across five categories:
- Caring Connections
- Daily Routines
- Activities and Experiences
- Partnerships with Families
Recently, researchers from the Devereux Center for Resilient Children and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services designed a study to investigate whether use of this research-informed resource led to observable improvements in classroom teaching practices.
To examine the use and effectiveness of the Reflective Checklist, teachers and early childhood mental health consultants through the state of Ohio were randomly assigned specific areas of the Reflective Checklist to focus on for three-month periods, during which they completed the Reflective Checklist and then planned and implemented associated strategies in their assigned areas. Results showed that (1) teachers and early childhood mental health consultants found the resource easy to use, understandable, and helpful in identifying important areas for growth in their teaching practices, (2) both teachers and consultants reported improvements in their teaching practices as a result of using the resources, and (3) teacher and early childhood mental health consultant ratings were fairly similar when raters were reflecting on the same classroom, although teacher ratings tended to be slightly higher than consultant ratings.
Despite limitations related to teacher attrition and past participant experience using the Reflective Checklist, this study provides evidence for both the usefulness and benefit of the Reflective Checklist and accompanying resources in assisting early childhood professionals in the process of identifying and improving classroom practices related to positive social and emotional development in children. To learn more about this study, check out the Executive Summary or the Full Report.