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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Early childhood educators’ experiences implementating a social competence promotion program for preschool-aged children : the "safe spaces" program Jaramillo, Angela Maria


The primary aim of this research was to describe the implementation of the Safe Spaces program across child care settings. The Safe Spaces program is a universal primary preventive program designed to foster preschool-aged children's emotional and social competence via a series of lessons that teach children emotional understanding and prosocial behaviours. The program was piloted in one child care centre in 2001 and is currently being implemented in over 50 child care settings across British Columbia, Canada. Although the Safe Spaces program has anecdotal evidence suggesting positive outcomes, little is known about whether or not the program is being implemented as intended across different child care settings and how child care centre characteristics, including early childhood educators' beliefs and experiences, might influence program implementation. Accordingly, 10 Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) drawn from five child care centres implementing the Safe Spaces program were asked to provide information via a series of questionnaires, interviews, and implementation record logs about the implementation of the Safe Spaces program in each of their centres. Results revealed high implementation (i.e., program adherence, extent to which specific program components are delivered as prescribed in program manuals and dosage, the frequency with which program techniques are implemented) of the Safe Spaces program across centres. Despite these reports, educators revealed that centre, child, and implementers' characteristics were related to the adoption and implementation of the program. Challenges and successes help identify recommendations for future implementation.

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