An Analysis of the Second Step Early Learning Program

Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Special Education


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Keri DeSutter


Social Emotional, Early Childhood, Curriculum, Preschool


This paper aims to analyze the Second Step Early Learning (SSEL) Program and its effectiveness in preschool classrooms. First, a literature review is conducted to determine what characteristics make up an effective social-emotional curriculum. Then, a 6-week intervention took place in a preschool classroom where two target students with social-emotional needs took part in the SSEL program. The goal was to determine whether or not the target students would benefit from a social-emotional learning program while only attending preschool two half days per week. The Teaching Strategies GOLD (TSG) assessment tool and informal observations were used to determine its effectiveness. Findings suggest that while many typically developing students benefited from the SSEL program, students with social-emotional needs may benefit from more intensive interventions. Strategies such as visual cues, visual supports for communication and direct instruction were used to supplement the curriculum. While both target students showed improvements in social-emotional development, only one of the target students showed improvement on the TSG assessment tool.

Abstract only: No full text available.