Promoting Social-Emotional Development of Children During Kindergarten: A Zippy's Friends Program Evaluation

Jason D Rodker, Pace University


As an important component of overall mental health, the development of social-emotional competence in children has far reaching implications for society. Particularly from a preventative point of view, adequate social-emotional skills lead to better outcomes for individuals and society, by promoting positive development and thus positive societal contributions, while decreasing the likelihood of psychological difficulty and thus maladaptive and destructive tendencies. With increased attention on these issues, some schools have begun to implement particular curricula designed to foster healthy social-emotional development. This study sought to examine the use of one such program, Zippy's Friends, with Kindergarten students. The researcher utilized a longitudinal design, comparing the development of students who participated in the program to the development of students who did not, in terms of Social Skills, Problem Behaviors, Academic Competence, and Social Perception. Subjects were drawn from public elementary schools in New Jersey; the experimental group consisted of 65 Kindergarten students and the contrast group consisted of 60 Kindergarten students. Quantitative findings indicated that while children changed over the course of the year with regard to some of the specified variables, most notably Social Skills and Social Perception, the two groups did not differ significantly. These results are discussed within the context of current knowledge regarding the expected trajectory of and contributors to social-emotional development. The results are further considered in relation to contrasting research findings. Factors possibly contributing to the current results include sampling characteristics, cultural context, assessment method, and the relative "success" of the contrast curriculum in facilitating a similar degree of social-emotional growth.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Rodker, Jason D, "Promoting Social-Emotional Development of Children During Kindergarten: A Zippy's Friends Program Evaluation" (2013). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3570714.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)