Facilitating Prosocial Skills in Early Childhood Classrooms
Pape, Megan Culbreth
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As the population increases, more and more children are entering schools at an early age. These young children often begin their formal schooling in one of the various types of early childhood education (ECE) programs, such as public school programs, government programs, private daycares, and nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, the teachers leading these ECE classrooms often have minimal experience in teaching young children, and often have low knowledge, skills, and confidence in facilitating prosocial skills. Prosocial skills are skills that previous literature has shown are important predictors of social adjustment in school, behavior, and academic achievement in children. The present study investigated the impact professional development (PD) sessions (C³Coaching Academy) had on ECE teachers when trained on how to facilitate prosocial skills in their classrooms. The four areas of prosocial skills targeted include classroom transitions, roles and responsibilities, age-appropriate social skills, and classroom organization. Additionally, the study examined the impact years of experience had on teacher’s perceived ability to facilitate prosocial skills in these areas. Participants self-reported their years of experience and perceived impact using the Prekindergarten Summer Academy Awareness Survey. Results indicate when ECE teachers engage in effective PD to facilitate prosocial skills, their knowledge, skills and confidence are impacted in a positive manner. Results also show that effective PD for ECE teachers impacts knowledge, skills, and confidence overall, regardless of the number of years of experience teaching. A discussion follows that links these findings to research previously presented. Finally, limitations of the study are presented and recommendations are offered for future research.