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Pre-School Behavior Checklist (PBCL)

by Jacqueline McGuire, Ph.D. and Naomi Richman, M.Sc., FRC Psych.

This quick, 22-item checklist helps professionals screen 2- to 5-year-old children for behavioral and emotional difficulties. It is ideal for use in preschools, nursery schools, and group day-care centers. If a child appears to be troubled, school staff can complete the Pre-School Behavior Checklist (PBCL), check the accuracy of their impressions, and determine whether further evaluation or intervention is warranted.

The checklist covers emotions (fears, worries, mood), conduct, temper, activity level, concentration, social relations, speech, language, habits, wetting, and soiling. Each item lists three or four degrees of a particular behavior. The examiner simply marks the degree that best describes the child in question. Items are scored for frequency and severity. By comparing Total Scores to cutoff points provided in the Manual, the examiner can quickly determine whether the child has an emotional or behavioral problem. And to give parents feedback, the PBCL includes a Developmental Activities Checklist. Using this, school personnel can recommend home activities designed to benefit the child.

The PBCL provides a systematic, objective way to screen preschool children for emotional and behavioral problems. Quick, cost-effective, and designed for group settings, it encourages early identification of children at risk.