Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Human Development & Family Science


This capstone project focuses on increasing social-emotional development of 5- to 7-year-old children. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a methodology that helps students of all ages better comprehend their emotions, feel emotions to the fullest extent, and demonstrate empathy for others. These learned behaviors are then used to help students make positive, responsible decisions, create frameworks to achieve their goals and build positive relationships with others. Researchers indicate that social-emotional learning promotes scholastic achievement, well-being, and positive life outcomes and can be a powerful tool for prevention and resilience when embedded with intentionality in curriculum, instruction, and school climate (Durlak et al., 2011; Taylor et al., 2017). Developing a framework early on to push students to begin recognizing and understanding their emotions will further improve social-emotional learning. To address this need, I implemented a set of three lessons focusing on the following concepts: self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management mechanisms for negative emotions. The first lesson focused on recognizing and labeling basic emotions and recognizing that more than one emotion can be experienced at once. The second lesson focused on understanding the causes of 13 emotions. The third lesson demonstrated two self-calming strategies when experiencing negative emotions. These lessons were presented to 11 African American students in the early childhood development program at the Mae C. Johnson Education and Cultural Enrichment Academy in Seaside, CA.