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PICCOLO. P arenting I nteractions with C hildren: C hecklist of O bservations L inked to O utcomes. Lori Roggman, Mark Innocenti, Gina Cook, Vonda Jump, & James Akers Presented at Society for Research in Child Development Boston, MA March 31, 2007.

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Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to


Lori Roggman, Mark Innocenti,

Gina Cook, Vonda Jump, & James Akers

Presented at Society for Research in Child Development

Boston, MA

March 31, 2007

A Head Start-University Partnership

Funded by ACYF Grant # 90YF0050

what is piccolo
What is PICCOLO?

An observational instrument we developed for practitioners working with parents of young children to measure positive parenting.

  • Psychometric data support PICCOLO as a measure that is:
        • Easy to use
        • Reliable
        • Valid
why measure parenting
Why Measure Parenting?

Development in the early years is linked to certain kinds of interactions with parents and caregivers(Bornstien & Tamis-LeMonda, 1989; Estrada et al., 1987; Harnish et al., 1995; Hart & Risley, 1995; Kelly et al., 1996; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1999).

Programs such as Early Head Start often aim to increase parenting behaviors that support early development.

why develop a new parenting measure
Why develop a new parenting measure?

• to identify parenting that predicts child outcomes

• to track positive parenting outcomes in programs.

• to develop a measure practitioners can use

- easy to learn, easy to use

- psychometrically sound

- appropriate for diverse families

why a parenting measure for diverse families
Why a parenting measure for diverse families?

• Most parenting measurement samples are:

• European-Americans

• Middle socio-economic status.

• Practitioners often work with parents of

• Diverse ethnicity/culture

• Lower socio-economic status

challenges in developing a measure for diverse families
Challenges in developing a measure for diverse families

• Getting a diverse sample: The national EHS study archived videotapes of parent-child interaction in a diverse sample.

• Getting diverse raters:

• Latino raters: Latino raters were recruited who were fluent in both Spanish & English.

• African-American raters: Intensive efforts were required to recruit African-American raters at Utah State.

how did we develop piccolo
How did we develop PICCOLO?

Step 1. The Evidence Base

  • Research team reviewed literature on parenting.
  • Most studies point to one of 4 main kinds of parenting that supports early development.
  • Research team selected items to test for PICCOLO in 4 domains.

What are the 4 PICCOLO Domains?

Affection & Affect: Showing physical and verbal affection,

warmth, positive emotional expressions, and positive statements.

Responsiveness: Reacting to child’s cues, emotions, words, and

behaviors, following child’s lead in play or conversation.

Encouragement: Providing active and non-intrusive

support of exploration, effort, initiative, independence, and play.

Teaching: Providing cognitive stimulation, questions,

explanations, and conversation; sharing pretend play.

piccolo v3 1 affect affection
PICCOLO v3.1 Affect/Affection

Expression of affection and positive emotions is sometimes called “warmth” and is related to

• less antisocial behavior

• better adjustment

• more compliance

• greater cognitive ability

• more school readiness

Research by Caspi, et al. (2004),Dodici et al. (2003), Estrada et al. (1987), MacDonald (1992), Petrill et al., (2004), and Sroufe et al. (1990).

piccolo v3 1 responsiveness
PICCOLO v3.1 Responsiveness

Reacting sensitively to infant cues and expressions of needs or interests is related to

• more secure attachment

• better cognitive & social development

• better language development

• fewer behavior problems

• better emotion regulation & empathy

Research by Bornstein & Tamis-LeMonda (1989),Davidov & Grusec (2006), Landry et al. (2001), Spencer & Meadow-Orlans (1996), Tamis-LeMonda et al. (2001), Volker et al., (1999), and Wakschlag & Hans (1999).



Encouragement of Autonomy

Providing support for children’s self-

direction and not being too restrictive or intrusive is related to

• greater independence

• less negativity

• willingness to try challenging tasks

• better cognitive & social development

• better language development

Research by Frodi et al. (1985), Ispa et al. (2004), Hart & Risley (1995), Landry et al. (1997), and Kelly et al. (2000).


PICCOLO v3.1 Teaching/Talking

Talking with children about their world, responding to their communications, and playing together is related to

• better cognitive & social development

• better language development

• more conversation

• more emergent literacy skills

Research by Baumwell et al., (1997), Carpenter et al., (1998), Hart & Risley (1995), Hockenberger et al. (1999), Laasko et al. (1999), and Tamis-LeMonda et al., (2001).


How did we test PICCOLO items?

  • Step 2. New Observations
  • ~ 4,500 video clips
  • (Early Head Start Evaluation & Research Project)
  • Parenting interactions, ages 14, 24, 36 months
  • • New observers rated items on video clips

What were the observations like?

  • 3-bag task (from the national Early Head Start
  • Research and Evaluation Project):
  • • 10- min video-recorded observation
    • • Mother & child on blanket on floor at home
  • • 3 bags
  • bag #1 -- book
  • bag #2 -- pretend toys
  • bag #3 -- other toys
    • • Parents told to play with child using toys in
    • each bag, dividing time how they wished.

How did we test PICCOLO items?

  • Observers
    • viewed clips independently
    • got regular feedback on agreement
    • gave regular feedback on items
    • were initially matched for ethnicity
how did we select piccolo items
How did we select PICCOLO items?
  • Step 3. Item Selection
  • Used multiple criteria to reduce the number of items based on:
      • Reliability
      • Validity
      • Sensitivity
      • Practicality


Encouragement of Autonomy

how reliable is piccolo
How reliable is PICCOLO?
  • Inter-rater agreement across all items > 70%
    • overall reliability coefficient = .80
    • 2 of 3 raters agree 91% of the time
  • Internal consistency across all domains
    • Cronbach’s alpha = .73 - .81
  • Some variation across ethnic/culture groups.
does piccolo have construct validity
Does PICCOLO have construct validity?

Affection is correlated primarily with ratings of

• Positive regard

Responsiveness is correlated primarily with ratings of

• Sensitivity

Teaching is correlated primarily with ratings of

• Cognitive stimulation

Encouragement is correlated primarily with ratings of

• overall supportiveness (combined construct)


What child outcomes does PICCOLO predict?

  • Cognitive development
      • Bayley MDI at 36m
      • Woodcock Johnson at preK
  • Vocabulary
      • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at 36m
      • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test at PreK
  • Social behavior
      • • Bayley Behavior Rating Scales at 36m
      • • Leiter Emotion Regulation at PreK
parenting ethnicity culture differences
Parenting & Ethnicity/Culture Differences?


• Early Head Start sampling

• Low-income, minority sampling

Observation Team

• background

Parenting values & culture

• do same behaviors mean the same thing?

does piccolo have practical validity
Does PICCOLO have practical validity?

Practitioners say that PICCOLO helps them

• see parenting behavior more distinctly

“I saw things I didn’t see before--I realized

how little she actually speaks to her child”

• plan interventions

“You see things you might want to work

with the parent on the next visit.”

• work with parents

“It’s useful for parents to do so they

can look at their skills”


PICCOLOParenting Interaction with Children Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes

Measuring the

High Notes

of Parenting



A Head Start-University Partnership

Funded by ACYF Grant # 90YF0050

Support materials are

available for PICCOLO


Training DVD


PICCOLO Researchers- Utah State UniversityLori Roggman LoriRoggman@yahoo.comMark Innocenti Minno@eiri.usu.eduGina CookVonda JumpJim AkersKatie ChristiansenCora Price

Program Partners

Bear River Head Start, Logan, UT

—Sara Thurgood, director

Head Start Parent Child Centers, Layton, UT

—Kathy Shaw Sartor, director

Guadalupe Schools Early Childhood Program, SLC, UT

— Patty Walker, director



Most of the parenting and child video clips and outcome data used for developing PICCOLO were from the Early Head Start Evaluation and Research Project, conducted in collaboration with the Administration for Youth and Families, Mathematica Policy Research, and local research partners at 17 sites. Research institutions in the Consortium (and principal researchers) include ACF (Rachel Chazan Cohen, Judith Jerald, Esther Kresh, Helen Raikes, Louisa Tarullo); Catholic University of America (Michaela Farber, Lynn Milgram Mayer, Harriet Liebow, Christine Sabatino, Nancy Taylor, Elizabeth Timberlake, Shavaun Wall); Columbia University (Lisa Berlin, Christy Brady-Smith, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Alison Sidle Fuligni); Harvard University (Catherine Ayoub, Barbara Alexander Pan, Catherine Snow); Iowa State University (Dee Draper, Gayle Luze, Susan McBride, Carla Peterson); Mathematica Policy Research (Kimberly Boller, Ellen Eliason Kisker, John M. Love, Diane Paulsell, Christine Ross, Peter Schochet, Cheri Vogel, Welmoet van Kammen); Medical University of South Carolina (Richard Faldowski, Gui-Young Hong, Susan Pickrel); Michigan State University (Hiram Fitzgerald, Tom Reischl, Rachel Schiffman); New York University (Mark Spellmann, Catherine Tamis-LeMonda); University of Arkansas (Robert Bradley, Mark Swanson, Leanne Whiteside-Mansell); University of California, Los Angeles (Carollee Howes, Claire Hamilton); University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Robert Emde, Jon Korfmacher, JoAnn Robinson, Paul Spicer, Norman Watt); University of Kansas (Jane Atwater, Judith Carta, Jean Ann Summers); University of Missouri-Columbia (Mark Fine, Jean Ispa, Kathy Thornburg); University of Pittsburgh (Carol McAllister, Beth Green, Robert McCall); University of Washington School of Education (Eduardo Armijo, Joseph Stowitschek); University of Washington School of Nursing (Kathryn Barnard, Susan Spieker); and Utah State University (Lisa Boyce, Lori Roggman). Additional data are from studies conducted by members of the PICCOLO research team at Utah State University in the Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development and at the Early Intervention Research Institute.Thousands of parents and children in the video clips used to develop the PICCOLO measure have provided a rich opportunity for us to learn more about parenting.