Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Marie Cianca, Ed.D.


This study examined the strategies and practices implemented in a preschool classroom to successfully address social-emotional learning (SEL) for preschool children with intensive needs. There is a gap in the literature regarding how preschool teachers integrate instructional practices and SEL in preschool classroom settings with challenging student behaviors. The study identified and analyzed the experiences of coaches and teachers using embedded SEL strategies and instructional practices to support the needs of challenging students. The study employed semi-structured interviews to identify the perceptions of teachers and coaches as to what strategies and supports worked best in three types of preschool classroom settings that were serving students with challenging behaviors. The qualitative study used the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as the framework for this research. The findings suggest that preschool teachers and coaches should use a detailed curriculum with embedded SEL strategies consistently to decrease challenging behavior. Teachers and instructional coaches were able to apply SEL strategies aligned to CASEL because the strategies were embedded in the curriculum. Additionally, more findings concluded that conflict resolution skills should be embedded throughout the day to help students become selfregulating and independent problem solvers. The final finding indicates that it takes a team approach to support a child with challenging social needs. The team should consist of the classroom teacher, instructional coach, caregiver, or parent and a social worker.

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