A range of school-based interventions has been developed to prevent or delay the onset of alcohol use, most of which are targeted to middle-school students.
Most of these interventions seek to reduce risk factors for alcohol use at the individual level, whereas other interventions also address social and/or environmental risk factors.
Next, a very important consideration to have in mind at the time of designing the preventive programmes is that those should not focus on the alcohol itself rather than on the students.
Furthermore, the environment that children and adolescents act should be supported and act as an example for them (parents, teachers, etc.). The same should happen with the children and the students themselves by empowering their skills and their personalities.
Bibliography (European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drugs Addiction, 2019) suggests that a school should follow the below steps to design, implement, and evaluate a preventive intervention.
Preliminary hypothesis and content setting
Definition of necessary sources
Definition of funding sources
Source: Antidrug Council of Cyprus (2020).
The Theory of Change is a tool that can help a school to articulate and connect their work to their bigger goals and allows them to spot potential risks in their plan by sharing the underlying assumptions in each step.
This tool can also aid in aligning team members to the larger end goal and help them understand their role in achieving it.
Setting up a theory of change is like making a roadmap that outlines the steps by which a school plans to achieve a certain goal in terms of preventing problematic alcohol use.
This is not a specific tool developed for this field, but it can be useful in organising an intervention as a school unit. It can also help a teacher to plan what they want to achieve in class and plan the relevant lessons.
Which are the needs of your class/school? Plan an intervention using the Theory of Change scheme or the Problem-solving questions tool.
|Children younger than 10 years of age|
Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers (LIFT)
Description of methodology:
It was designed to address two factors that put children at risk in terms of aggressive and antisocial behaviour and delinquency:
a)aggressive and other at-risk social behaviours with teachers and peers at school and
b)certain parenting practices, including inconsistent discipline and not a careful supervision.
The target group of this intervention was children within the elementary school setting, and specifically first graders (6-7 years) and fifth graders (10-11 years). The programme was designed for children and their families living in at-risk neighbourhoods.
During the whole programme, there was a special “LIFT line” in each classroom (a phone and an answering machine) that was supporting the communication among teachers and parents. Both sides were using this line, to share concerns, record messages about class activities and exchange.
The programme had three main components of intervention:
1)The classroom-based child social skills training, was delivered in 20 one-hour sessions during 10 weeks. Each session included:
a) classroom instruction and discussion about specific social and problem-solving skills,
b) skills practice in small and large groups,
c) free play in the context of the GBG group cooperation game, and
d) review and presentation of daily rewards.
Parts a, b and d were taking place in the classroom and part c, on the playground. The curriculum was similar for all students, but it differed in delivery format, group exercises, and content emphasis according to the student’s age.
2)The playground Good Behaviour Game (GBG), was taking place during the above training with the purpose to encourage positive peer relations on the playground.
While playing, rewards were gained by children that had shown positive problem-solving skills and other positive behaviours with peers. These rewards, even individual, were counted for rewarding the entire group or class. There was a point system used to discourage negative behaviours.
3)The parent management training, was conducted for 10 to 15 parents, and consisted of six weekly 2½-hour sessions, after school or in the evenings. The themes were: positive reinforcement, discipline, monitoring, problem-solving, and parent involvement in the school.
Outcomes of evaluation of the programme: