Preschool Relationships Enhancement Project

Examining the Efficacy of Banking Time: A Teacher-Child Early Intervention to Reduce Children’s Disruptive Behavior

Children who display significant disruptive behaviors have trouble developing positive relationships with their teachers and peers and have trouble engaging in the classroom. A strategy called Banking Time, developed by Robert C. Pianta and Bridget Hamre, is an easy-to-implement set of techniques that help teachers invest in a positive relationship with a child.

The Preschool Relationships Enhancement Project (PREP) is the first tightly controlled experimental research on the effectiveness of the Banking Time approach. Three times a week, teachers in this study set aside time for 10- to 15-minute sessions over an eight-week period and let the child lead their play time together. Banking Time emphasizes that relationships serve as a resource for children. Teachers invest in these resources during Banking Time sessions and then children and teachers draw upon the capital invested in the teacher-child relationship to solve problems within the classroom and to develop children’s academic and social-emotional competencies. Using a randomized control trial, the researchers are evaluating whether Banking Time reduces preschooler’s problem behaviors and improves their social-emotional competencies and whether these improved child outcomes occur via improvement in the teacher-child relationship.

Project Status: 2010-2014

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)

Principal Investigator: Amanda Williford

Associated Faculty and Staff:

Selective Presentations:

  • Williford, A. P., & Whittaker, J. E. (2010, August). Teacher-Child Relationship Quality: Key to Improving Child Outcomes. Invited paper presented at the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services’ early childhood meeting entitled “Early Childhood 2010: Innovation for the Next Generation.”  Washington, DC.
  • Whittaker, J. E. V., Hatfield, B. E., Hartz, K., Williford, A. P., & LoCasale-Crouch, J. (2012). Congruence of teacher and teaching assistant ratings of children’s behavior problems. Poster presented at the Head Start National Research Conference, Washington, D.C.
  • Williford, A. P., Hatfield, B. E., LoCasale-Crouch, J., & Whittaker, J. E. V. (2012). Teachers’ implementation of Banking Time with preschoolers at-risk for a disruptive behavior disorder. Paper presented at the Society of Prevention Research, Washington, D.C.
  • Hartz, K., LoCasale-Crouch, J., Whittaker, J. E. V., Williford, A. P. (2012). Implementation of Banking Time in Year One of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Poster presented at the Head Start National Research Conference, Washington, D.C.