Social Problem-Solving Applications: Lessons from the Field

  • Susanne A. Denham
  • Rosemary Burton


In this chapter we will outline the means of conveying social problem solving to preschoolers. Methods to train such social problem solving with preschoolers are well documented (Shure, 1992, 1993). In general, the training methods espoused in the tradition of Shure and Spivack (1980) proceed as follows, with some focusing more or less on certain components:
  • First, vocabulary important to communicating about social problems is introduced (e.g., Is, Some-All, Not, Or, And, Because, Maybe/Might, Same-Different); “same-different” is especially introduced in order to allow children to discuss that they have the same or different goals during interaction.

  • Next, understanding feelings is typically introduced. In the programming discussed in this volume, this topic is a focus in and of itself.

  • Stories are often told, to aid the children in learning to “read” a social situation and about fairness.

  • Children are taught about, and given practice in, generating possible solutions.

  • At the same time, program leaders introduce the identification of goals during social interaction.

  • Finally, often through stories and role playing, the groups of children and leaders work on evaluating the multiple solutions generated, picking a solution and carrying it out, and evaluating its outcome.


Social Problem Prosocial Behavior Social Competence Emotional Competence Emotion Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne A. Denham
    • 1
  • Rosemary Burton
    • 2
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Minnieland Private Day School, Inc.WoodbridgeUSA

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