The SDERA initiative for the early childhood phase of schooling (Kindergarten to Year 3) entitled “Challenges and Choices: early childhood resource for resilience, drug and road safety education” was released in March 2006. With the support of teacher training provided by SDERA, the program will assist teachers to plan and implement resilience, drug and road safety education in the context of health and physical education. To evaluate this new phase of SDERA targeted at early childhood, a three-year study was proposed using process, impact and outcome measures.
The Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC) at Edith Cowan University was asked to collect baseline data for outcome measures for early childhood, from children likely to be exposed to the program and a comparable comparison group not exposed to the program. These baseline findings would provide a benchmark for future comparisons of the effectiveness of the SDERA intervention. Specifically, results in the West Australian intervention schools could be compared with comparison schools in South Australia, and comparisons of outcomes in WA schools with varying levels of implementation of and involvement in the SDERA initiatives could be made, to determine whether schools with higher levels of implementation have more favourable outcomes.
A cross-sectional study was conducted as the first phase of a prospective trial. A stratified random sample of 52 schools were recruited from WA and SA to comprise an intervention and comparison group respectively. Year 1 students were selected as study participants in the early childhood evaluation as they would remain in this phase of school for the three year duration of the evaluation. Since Year 1 students are too young to independently complete questionnaires of this nature, their parents were surveyed. A total of 2,059 parents, 82 teachers and 40 principals/senior administrators completed a questionnaire. Information obtained from parents included their knowledge, attitude and behaviours in relation to resiliency, drug education and road safety, as well as their perceptions of their child’s abilities regarding road safety. The major objective of the teacher questionnaire was to measure teachers’ knowledge, attitude, skills and previous teaching experience and practice related to resilience, drug education and road safety and the principal questionnaire aimed to assess the whole-school environment concerning resilience, drug education and road safety.
The results from the WA and SA respondents were compared to determine whether the groups of schools, students and parents surveyed from the two states were similar, and thus whether the SA sample would be suitable as a comparison group.
School Drug Education and Road Aware, Department of Education and Training, WA.
Professor Donna Cross
Associate Professor Marg Hall
Associate Professor Stacey Waters
Ms Thérèse Shaw
Curtin University, Dr Lynn Meuleners
Drug and Alcohol Office, Ms Dionne Paki