Incredible Years (Child Training Programs)

The Incredible Years® child training programs use dinosaur-themed materials and life-size puppets to engage children and strengthen social, emotional, and academic skills.

The Small Group Dinosaur treatment curriculum is for counselors, therapists, or special education teachers to treat children with conduct problems, ADHD, and internalizing problems. The small group treatment program is delivered in 18-22 weekly 2-hour sessions.

The Classroom Dinosaur Curriculum is used by teachers as a prevention program for an entire classroom of students. The curriculum is delivered 2-3 times a week by teachers in the classroom in 20-30 minute circle time lessons, followed by small group practice activities and promotion of skills throughout the school day. The program includes letters for teachers to send home with suggested activities parents can do with their children to reinforce the classroom learning and promote parent involvement in classroom learning. The program includes lesson plans for 3 “levels” so that teachers can choose lessons based on children’s developmental age (Level 1: ages 3-5, Level 2: ages 5-6, Level 3: ages 7-8).

This program is approved for WV Expanded School Mental Health.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

The Incredible Years® Child Program curriculum aims to strengthen children’s social, emotional and academic competencies such as understanding and communicating feelings, using effective problem solving strategies, managing anger, practicing friendship and conversational skills, as well as appropriate classroom behaviors. The child training program can be used by counselors or therapists to treat “difficult” and highly aggressive children in small groups or can be used by teachers as a prevention program for an entire classroom of students.

Targeted outcome variables for the Incredible Years Series:
Young children with high rates of aggressive behavior problems have been shown to be at greatest risk for continuing on the trajectory to deviant peer groups, school drop out, delinquency, substance abuse, and violence. Ultimately the aim of the teacher, parent and child training programs is to prevent and reduce the occurrence of aggressive and oppositional behavior, thus reducing the chance of developing later delinquent behaviors. Each of the programs in the Incredible Years® Series seeks to alter the quality of relationships between parents and children, teachers and children, teachers and parents, group facilitators and parents, and children with their peers.

Continuum of Care:
Treatment, Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Depression, Disruptive Behaviors

Childhood (4-12)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:
Community-Based, School-Based, Virtual

Cultural Considerations:
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations

The Small Group Dinosaur treatment curriculum is for preschool, kindergarten, and primary school children ages 4-8 years with behavior problems. The Classroom Dinosaur prevention curriculum is for all children ages 3-8 in preschool, kindergarten, and primary school.

Experience requirements: education as teacher, psychologist, school counselor or child psychiatrist. The Small Group Dinosaur Curriculum is implemented by counselors, therapists, or special education teachers and the Classroom Dinosaur Curriculum is implemented by classroom teachers.


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
For information on the Small Group Dinosaur Therapy Certification, please see the following link:
For more information on the Classroom Dinosaur Program Certification, please see the following link:

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., Gridley, N., Whitaker, C. J., Martin-Forbes, P., & Gruffydd, S. (2012). The incredible years therapeutic social and emotional skills programme: A pilot study. School Psychology International, 33(3), 285–293.

Williams, M. E., Bywater, T., Lane, E., Williams, N. C., & Hutchings, J. (2019). Building Social and Emotional Competence in School Children: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Psychology, 10, 107-121.

Bayrak, H. U., & Akman, B. (2018). Adaptation of the “Incredible Years Child Training Program” and Investigation of the Effectiveness of the Program. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 18(2), 397–425.

Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., Daley, D., & Lane, E. (2007). A pilot study of the Webster-Stratton Incredible Years Therapeutic Dinosaur School programme. Clinical Psychology Forum, 170, 21–24.

Additional Sources:

Promising rating

WV Rating:
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

While there have been some studies examining the Dinosaur program, results from these studies (although positive), have been minimal to moderate in size. In addition, more large scale studies are needed to test the effectiveness.

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified, but please note: there is a Dinosaur Prevention Program for children 3-8 years old, as well as a Dinosaur Treatment Program for teachers and counselors to help children with disruptive behaviors.

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Promising - More than one study

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry