The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Early Childhood Special Education Studies: M.S.


Child and Family Studies


School of Education

First Advisor

Jane Minnema

Second Advisor

JoAnn Johnson

Third Advisor

Marc Markell

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Social Emotional Development, Parenting, Coaching, Early Childhood, Assessment, Intervention


This culminating project consists of two extended research papers:

Working with Families and Children to Promote the Development of Social Emotional Competence

The overall purpose of this study was to review the literature on recommended practices for supporting families and children in promoting social emotional competence. Social emotional competence is crucial for children’s academic and success throughout a lifetime (Bagdi & Vacca, 2005; Powell & Dunlap, 2010; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). There is also a consensus in the literature that early interactions and experiences are critical in shaping the development of later social emotional competences (Brophy-Herb et al., 2009; Clark et al., 2004; Raikes et al., 2007). The research indicates that warm, nurturing relationships with primary caregivers contribute to cognitive and social emotional development by providing a secure base to explore and learn (CSEFEL, 2008). Since parents and caregivers are the primary influence in the attainment of positive social emotional outcomes for children, early interventionists that work collaboratively with caregivers to provide the support they need to nurture their child’s development (Hughes & Peterson, 2008). Parenting interventions that focus on enhancing the parent child relationship are essential to improving social emotional outcomes (Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., 2003; Dunst & Kassow, 2008). The purpose of this review was to identify targeted parenting skills and interventions that can lead to enhanced parent-child relationships.

Addressing Social Emotional Competence in Early Childhood Through Research-Based Assessment and Evaluation Practices

There has been a growing interest in identifying behavioral and emotional problems as early as possible in young children. Early detection of social emotional difficulties has the potential to lead to successful interventions to alleviate future problems. The purpose of this Starred Paper was to review the literature that examines the methods and recommended practices for the assessment and measurement of social emotional development for young children birth to 3 years old. Identifying early social emotional problems in young children can be challenging. Research does offer several factors pertaining to children’s social emotional development and wellbeing that point to measurement constructs. The review of literature offers some understanding regarding the complexity of assessing social emotional development, a discussion of the empirically-based procedures and measurement tools, as well as additional resources for practitioners and educators for the assessment of young children. The assessment of young children’s social emotional development should utilize a multi-method approach that garners assessment data from multiple sources of information. Evaluation procedures must take the child’s individual characteristics, relationships, and experiences into account to provide the necessary context for understanding child and family unique qualities. Early Interventionists need to implement a family-centered, culturally informed approach in order to ensure better outcomes for infants, toddlers, and young children.


I would like to acknowledge the thoughtful contributions of my committee members, Jane Minnema, JoAnn Johnson, and Marc Markell. Special thanks to Doreen Vollhaber and Alice Strom for their continuous support and encouragement.