Date of Conferral







Dr. Susan Marcus



Pre-school is foundational to future academic success, and social skills have been recognized as a critical component of that foundation. How pre-school teachers facilitate social skills development is an area requiring further study. The purpose of this research was to describe the experience of social skills development from the perspective of early educators. Attachment and social learning theories were used as theoretical frameworks to explore how early education teachers describe the social skills for early education success in young children and how early education teachers facilitate the development of important social skills. This study used a generic, qualitative design to select eight participants and collect interview data. A comprehensive two-cycle coding process was used for data analysis. Results portrayed a rich and diverse picture of how social skills appeared throughout the classroom environment, and identification of critical social skills deemed essential for success in the classroom. Findings also indicated that student-teacher-relationships were integral to how participants saw their role in social skills development. Research recommendations include replicating this study with special educators, using a case study approach, and using the results to develop more robust quantitative assessment methods of pre-school social skills development. This study may contribute to positive social change through developing evidence-based pre-school teacher professional development modules and specific teaching methods to promote social skills development and positive student-teacher relationships.