Young children face unique social challenges, and they need social and emotional resilience skills in order to navigate their way through school. Many of the children who need the most help are in family situations where parents are not able to teach these skills. Students can become more resilient through social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom. SEL teaches children to identify the emotions of themselves and others, to communicate their emotions in a nonviolent way, and to be good friends. By teaching SEL at a young age, teachers can help children become more adept as they make friends and learn how to interact in social situations, thus bolstering their relationships with friends and adults. Improved social and emotional skills help students succeed in academics and with their peers as they form social connections. Strong Start Pre-K, a social and emotional learning curriculum, was evaluated in a local preschool program. Using a nonequivalent control group design, two preschool teachers taught the curriculum in their classrooms, and a third classroom was the control. Both before and after the implementation of the curriculum, data were gathered from classroom teachers on their students' emotional regulation, internalizing behaviors, and the teachers' perceived relationships with their students. Results indicated a slight increase in emotional regulation and a significant decrease in internalizing behaviors in the treatment groups. Student-teacher relationships improved, specifically with a decrease on the subscale of Conflict. Treatment fidelity indicated that teachers were able to implement most or all of the components of each lesson 90% of the time. Social validity measurements indicated that the teachers would recommend the curriculum to other educators.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





social and emotional learning, prevention, preschool, student-teacher relationships