Date of Award

Spring 4-12-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Christina Ager

Second Advisor

Dr. Priscilla Jeter-Iles

Third Advisor

Dr. Monica J. Taylor


Approximately 2.4 million students enter kindergarten without the social-emotional skills needed. Preschool is when children should be engaged in learning how to interact with their peers and the skills to be successful in kindergarten (Curby et al., 2015). Helping children develop the skills needed to interact with peers appropriately is essential in Early Childhood Education. Preschool plays an essential role in raising healthy children by fostering their cognitive development and their social and emotional development (Durlak et al., 2011). Schools need to address and meet the challenges that arise from student's inability to manage emotions and challenging behaviors that interfere with their ability to learn (Zins et al., 2004, Denham & Brown, 2010). Students who receive Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) programming are more likely to succeed academically, flourish socially, and have more significant health outcomes.

Responsive Classroom (RC) is an evidence-based curriculum designed to create classrooms responsive to children's physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs through developmentally appropriate educational experiences in kindergarten through sixth grade ( The primary goal of this study was to determine the impact of RC on pre-kindergarten students. A convergent, mixed-methods study was conducted to achieve this goal. This study's key finding was pre-kindergarten students who participated in RC lessons daily showed growth in all social competencies, especially in self-regulation. Secondly, kindergarten teachers perceived a difference in the social-emotional skills of students who had RC in pre-kindergarten as compared to students who have not. Finally, preschool students who received RC instruction had better developed social-emotional skills upon entry into kindergarten than their non-RC peers.

Available for download on Thursday, May 18, 2023