Advertisement

Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 397–405 | Cite as

Can Explicit Instruction in Social and Emotional Learning Skills Benefit the Social-Emotional Development, Well-being, and Academic Achievement of Young Children?

  • Daniela Maree Ashdown
  • Michael E. Bernard
Article

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of a social and emotional learning skills curriculum, the You Can Do It! Early Childhood Education Program (YCDI), on the social-emotional development, well-being, and academic achievement of 99 preparatory and grade 1 students attending a Catholic school in Melbourne, Australia. One preparatory and one grade 1 class were randomly chosen to receive structured lessons in YCDI, delivered by their classroom teachers over a period of 10 weeks, while the remaining preparatory and grade 1 class served as the control group. The lessons were designed to teach young children confidence, persistence, organisation and emotional resilience. The educational program consisted of explicit, direct instruction lessons drawn from the YCDI Early Childhood Curriculum taught three times a week, supported by a variety of additional social and emotional teaching practices. The results indicated that YCDI had a statistically significant positive effect on levels of social-emotional competence and well-being for the preparatory and grade 1 students, a reduction in problem behaviours (externalising, internalising, and hyperactivity problems) for the grade 1 students, and an increase in reading achievement (decoding text) for the lower achieving grade 1 students. These findings are discussed with regard to issues concerning the role of explicit instruction in social and emotional learning for the early years.

Keywords

Social and emotional learning Explicit instruction Reading achievement Well-being 

References

  1. Bernard, M. E. (2002). Providing all children with the foundations for achievement and social-emotional-behavioural well-being (2nd edn - Revised). Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia: Australian Scholarships Group.Google Scholar
  2. Bernard, M. E. (2004a). The You Can Do It! Early childhood education program: A social-emotional learning curriculum (4–6 year olds). Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia: Australian Scholarships Group.Google Scholar
  3. Bernard, M. E. (2004b). The relationship of young children’s social-emotional competence to their achievement and social-emotional well-being. Paper presented at the annual research conference of the australian council for educational research, Adelaide, Australia.Google Scholar
  4. Bernard, M. E. (2006). It’s time we teach social-emotional competence as well as we teach academic competence. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22, 103–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernard, M. E. (2007). Program achieve: A social and emotional learning curriculum (3rd ed.). Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia: Australian Scholarships Group.Google Scholar
  6. Bernard, M. E. (2008). The effect of You Can Do It! Education on the emotional resilience of primary school students with social, emotional, behavioural and achievement challenges. Paper presented at the 43rd APS annual conference proceedings, Hobart, Australia.Google Scholar
  7. Bernard, M. E., Magnum, N., & Urbach, D. (2009). Wellbeing survey (Teacher Form—Early Years) (2nd ed.). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  8. Bernard, M. E., Stephanou, A., & Urbach, D. (2007). The ASG student social and emotional health report. Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia: Australian Scholarships Group.Google Scholar
  9. Bernard, M. E., & Walton, K. E. (2011). The effect of You Can Do It! Education in six schools on student perceptions of well-being, teaching-learning and relationships. Journal of Student Well-being, 5, 22–37.Google Scholar
  10. Bond, T., & Fox, M. (2007). Applying the Rasch model. Fundamental measurement in the human sciences (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  11. Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. (2008). Handout 1.2 Definition of Social Emotional Development. CSEFELInfant-Toddler Module 1. Retrieved September 6, 2008 from http://www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel/inftodd/mod1/1.2.pdf.
  12. Cohen, J. (Ed.). (2001). Caring classrooms, intelligent schools: The social and emotional education of young children. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. Collaborative for Academic, Social, Emotional Learning. (2003). Safe and sound: An educational leader’s guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. Chicago, IL: Author.Google Scholar
  14. DiPerna, J. C., & Elliot, S. N. (2002). Promoting academic enablers to improve student achievement: An introduction to the mini-series. School Psychology Review, 31, 293–297.Google Scholar
  15. Gresham, F. M., & Elliot, S. N. (1990). Social skills rating system manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  16. Hemmeter, V. L., Ostrosky, M., & Fox, L. (2006). Social and emotional foundations for early learning: A conceptual model for intervention. School Psychology Review, 35, 583–601.Google Scholar
  17. Humphries, M. L., & Keenan, K. E. (2006). Theoretical, developmental and cultural orientations of school-based prevention programs for preschoolers. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 9(2), 135–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hyson, M. (2004). The emotional development of young children (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  19. Joseph, G. G., & Strain, P. S. (2003). Comprehensive, evidence-based social-emotional curricula for young children: An analysis of efficacious adoption potential. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 23(2), 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McMahon, S. D., Washburn, J., Felix, E. D., Yakin, J., & Childrey, G. (2000). Violence prevention: Program effects on urban preschool and kindergarten children. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 9, 271–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nelson, G., Westhues, A., & MacLeod, J. (2003). A meta-analysis of longitudinal research on preschool prevention programs for children. Prevention & Treatment, 6(31), 1–35.Google Scholar
  22. Parlakian, R. (2003). Before the ABCs: Promoting school readiness in infants and toddlers. Washington, DC: Zero To Three.Google Scholar
  23. Payton, J. W., Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., Schellinger, K. B., et al. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.Google Scholar
  24. Pianta, R. C., Barnett, W. S., Burchinal, M., & Thornburg, K. R. (2009). The effects of pre-school education: What we know, how public policy is or is not aligned with the evidence base, and what we need to know. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10, 49–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shonkoff, J. P., & Philips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early child-hood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  26. Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1980). Interpersonal problem solving as a mediator of behavioral adjustment in preschool and kindergarten children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 1, 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Walker, H. M., Stiller, B., Golly, A., Kavanaugh, K., Severson, H. H., & Feil, E. (1997). First step to success: An early intervention program for anti-social kindergartners. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.Google Scholar
  28. Wang, M. C., Haertel, G. D., & Walberg, H. J. (1993). Toward a knowledge base for school learning. Review of Educational Research, 63(3), 249–294.Google Scholar
  29. Whitington, V., & Floyd, I. (2009). Four year old preschoolers’ development of intersubjectivity with their peers in socio-dramatic play. Early Child Development and Care, 179(2), 143–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations