Kent School's Andy Frey discusses his research on children's behavior.
Kent School's Andy Frey discusses his research on children's behavior.

They’re not yet in kindergarten but they’re already in danger of failing in school because of their behavior. The preschoolers are the subject of two University of Louisville studies to figure out interventions that would improve kids’ behavior in school and at home.

“In each of these studies, we try to find the most challenging child in the classroom,” said Andy Frey, Kent School of Social Work professor and principal investigator on the studies.

Frey and his team are using an intervention program called First Step Next to see if they can improve the behavior of preschoolers who can’t sit still or are verbally and physically abusive to teachers and classmates. The first study found “on both of these outcomes, reduction of challenging behavior and improvement of social skills, we found consistently that parents and teachers report improvements” according to Frey.

The problem, Frey says, is the improved behavior lasts only 3 months and didn’t stick with the students when they entered kindergarten. Thus, the need for the second study which is currently researching ways to keep kids on the right path.

Hear more about Andy Frey’s research in his interview on “UofL Today with Mark Hebert,” available online


Mark Hebert
Following a 28-year career as a radio and television reporter, Mark Hebert joined the University of Louisville as the Director of Media Relations in 2009, serving as the main spokesperson. In 2015, Mark was named Director of Programming and Production. He’s now producing and hosting a radio show about “all things UofL”, overseeing the university’s video and TV productions and promoting UofL’s research operation. Mark is best known for his 22 years as the political and investigative reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he won numerous awards for breaking stories, exposing corruption and objectively covering Kentucky politics. In 2014, Mark was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.