Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Liberal Studies


Human Development and Family Science

First Advisor

Rob Weisskirch


Social awareness is a key component of social-emotional learning and is often underrepresented in kindergarten curriculum. Students who struggle with social awareness are at a greater risk for antisocial behaviors, low academic performance, diminished self-efficacy, low motivation, and low adaptability. Jean Piagets’ cognitive-developmental theory places kindergarten-age students in the preoperational stage of development. At this stage, children are egocentric, exhibit centrated thought, and struggle to use perspective and empathic skills. Kindness, problem-solving, and maintaining positive relationships are all rooted in social awareness and require students to move away from egocentric thinking. I designed a three-part lesson on acts of kindness with a heavy emphasis on perspective-taking and empathy to guide kindergarten students into the next developmental stage of concrete operational thinking. In a series of kindness-based activities, I analyzed student behavior and responses following the guided lessons to assess for conceptual understanding. A majority of participants held a satisfactory understanding of kindness and a small group showed evidence of concrete operational thinking by use of an outside perspective. This project shows evidence that lessons in social awareness are impactful to the cognitive abilities of even the youngest of school-aged children.