New observational tool PICCOLO™ promotes positive parenting behaviors

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Posted on: August 8th, 2013

Contact: Amy Perkins, Brookes Publishing
410-337-9580 x128;

Baltimore, Maryland (August 2013) – Brookes Publishing has announced the release of a new observational tool designed to assess and monitor the quality of parent–child interactions. Available in mid-October, Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO™) provides home visiting, parent education, and early childhood programs with valuable information for strengthening parenting practices.

Developed for use with parents of children 10­–47 months, the PICCOLO measures 29 developmentally supportive parenting behaviors proven to promote school readiness in 4 domains—Affection, Responsiveness, Encouragement, and Teaching. The tool was developed after extensive research with more than 2,000 diverse families funded through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE)’s Head Start–University Partnership: Measurement Development project with additional support from the Vice President for Research at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. Results from the PICCOLO™ will help programs provide positive feedback to parents, plan individualized family interventions, and measure program effectiveness.

Home visiting, early childhood, and parent educator professionals are already pleased with the results of PICCOLO™. An early PICCOLO™ user, Jennifer Cahill of the MHCC Early Head Start Home-Based Program in Gresham, OR, described the use of PICCOLO™ as “an exciting step in our program . . . Parents report that they have become more engaged with their children and have learned the importance of affection, teaching, responsiveness, and encouragement and the impact that positive interactions have on a child’s development.”

Linda Wollesen, Director of Life Skill Outcomes, LLC, a training and consulting company for home visiting programs, says the PICCOLO™ “weaves together a structure for grounded observations that suggest concrete ways to support positive parenting behaviors that are the foundation of who the child becomes. The PICCOLO™ captures the sweet sounds that are the essence of parenting.”

A detailed PICCOLO™ user’s guide with administration instructions and frequently asked questions and a training DVD with clips of parent–child interactions for scoring practice are available to support effective use.

For more information on the PICCOLO™, visit A recorded webinar from co-developer Lori Roggman is available at

About the Developers

Lori A. Roggman, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. Dr. Roggman’s research focuses on parenting and children’s early development, and she has extensive experience in home visiting research, collaborating with programs and practitioners to integrate theory-based inquiry with program evaluation and continuous program improvement. She has worked with home visitors in the United States and other countries to develop practical and effective approaches for working with diverse families.  She was principal investigator of a local research team for the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project that provided observations and data for development of the PICCOLO™ tool.

Gina A. Cook, Ph.D., is a Research Scientist at the Center for Persons with Disabilities and Research Assistant Professor in the department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University. She has extensive experience as a program evaluator and has been a Head Start teaching coach and an early intervention home visitor trainer on projects designed to increase adult–child language interactions and support parenting and language development.

Mark S. Innocenti, Ph.D., is Director of the Research and Evaluation Division at the Center for Persons with Disabilities and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. Dr. Innocenti has more than 30 years of experience working with infants and young children at-risk and with disabilities and their families through multiple research and model demonstration projects.

Vonda K. Jump Norman, Ph.D., is an applied researcher and evaluator in the Research and Evaluation Division of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. She works extensively with programs to promote positive outcomes in young children through ongoing staff and parent training focused on improving practice.

Katie Christiansen, Ph.D., is a PICCOLO™ researcher in the Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development at Utah State University. She has worked on several projects as a home visitor trainer and has extensive experience in child assessment, video observation, preschool evaluation, and teacher evaluation.

Sheila Anderson, Ph.D., is Executive Director for the Utah Association for the Education of Young Children. She has more than 20 years of experience in the field of early childhood, as an early childhood classroom teacher and as an instructor and mentor of early childhood professionals. She received a Head Start Graduate Student Research Scholars grant to test PICCOLO™ with fathers.

About Brookes Publishing

Brookes Publishing is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. For 35 years, the company has partnered with top experts on trusted books and tools that improve lives—from the critical early years through adulthood. Brookes Publishing is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information, please visit