The Preschool Situational Self-Regulation Toolkit (PRSIST) Program aims to engage, challenge and extend children’s self-regulation in ways that are play-like, low-cost, routine, and target all aspects required for successful self-regulation (i.e., goal setting, motivation, problem solving, self-regulatory capacity). Specifically, the PRSIST Program is a collection of professional learning videos (PRSIST Talks), Adult Practices (Practices), low-cost, play-based and everyday Child Activities, and home connections to support the development of children’s early self-regulation.

The program has been design to be compatible across a range of early learning contexts, and has been piloted, evaluated and revised based on feedback from early years educators around: child and educator enjoyment; compatibility with pre-school contexts, routines and practices; and perceived benefit. As a result, the program has been developed so it can be implemented for varying durations, intensities and using different combinations and sequences of elements. At the core of the program is four key elements:

  1. Adult practices. Educators, parents and caregivers are provided with core principles and associated practices (see the Adult Practices page), to support the development of young children’s self-regulation development. Each principle is described (e.g., engage children in problem solving), contextualised in a real-life scenario to illustrate its importance (e.g., a child reticent to engage in an activity for fear of being incorrect), and specific practices are provided related to the principle (e.g., open-ended questioning). These principles and practices are further supported by a series of nine brief, online professional learning videos (see the PRSIST Talks page) that expand on these principles and practices.

  2. Child activities. A collection of 28 playful activities have also been developed (see the Child Activities page) based on: observations of practices at high quality pre-school services; minimal modification of existing practices in high quality centres (modified to maximise self-regulatory benefit); or newly created activities that have been piloted and revised based on the feedback of educators across a range of pre-school services. The timing, intensity, selection and sequence of child activities is flexible, although it is suggested that at least three activities be done each week. As an easy entry into the activities, we have developed three children’s books that link activities to central plot points, and then compile all of the activities in an appendix at the end of the book – (see the Resources page). This is an engaging way to introduce the activities to children, as well as link stories to follow-up experiences.

  3. Formative assessment of children’s developing self-regulation. Providing appropriate environments and experiences for children’s development requires knowing about their current developmental progress. To support an understanding of where children are up to in their self-regulation development, we have developed a formative assessment tool that uses observation of children as they perform everyday activities, but structures this observation to: (1) focus on key areas of self-regulation; and (2) provide actionable data based on a child's developmental progress. Using this PRSIST formative assessment tool (see the Assessment page) can help adults to tailor the complexity of the child activities to a particular child's current developmental needs.

  4. Monthly newsletters. Where the program is implemented in a pre-school context, parent and caregiver newsletters are provided to help foster strong connections with the home. Monthly newsletters, spanning the course of the program help to: provide parents and caregivers with important information about what self-regulation is and why it is important; inform them about their child's activities in their pre-school centre; and give suggestions for how parents can additionally support their child's self-regulation at home. Each newsletter consists of one double-sided page.

The PRSIST program has been designed to be flexible (in response to the needs of educators and parents/caregivers working with young children), low-cost (so practices and activities can be done in a range of contexts and socio-economic conditions), and freely and widely disseminated (anyone can access this website at no cost, to be able to access the program in part or in full). A rigorous cluster randomized controlled trial evaluation of this program is being undertaken in 2018, and will be reported shortly thereafter. Watch this space!