Efficacy of Early Childhood Education Social Emotional Curricula that Include Sensory Integration Strategies
Date of Award
Master of Arts in Education
Early Childhood Education
Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky
Social Emotional Curriculum, Sensory Processing, Sensory Integration, Self-regulation
The primary concentration at any early learning center must be the promotion of healthy development and learning in a safe and nurturing environment. Research has shown that in order for educators to meet criterion standards for healthy and safe learning environments, ongoing evaluation and assessment of teaching strategies that target the child’s development are needed.
Further, if there is any one area to be emphasized over any other as holding paramount importance or influence in early learning, it must be identified and fully supported (Nix, et al., 2016). Research now points early childhood practitioners toward intensive focus on social/emotional development, as social/emotional competency including sustained attention and inhibition control is now thought to be the greatest predictor of long-term success in both academic and non-academic areas of development (Rabiner, et al., 2016). Literature pertaining to the use of specific social emotional curriculum that embed sensory integration strategies to meet developmental learning objectives in this area was examined. This paper inquired as to the efficacy of such curricula, by analyzing research based on existing curricula and from related studies involving sensory integration strategies and the behavior of children. This research indicated that only limited Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curricula implemented sensory integration techniques learned from the discipline of occupational therapy. However, those that did conveyed children benefitted from the use of such curricula by increasing self-regulatory abilities (Mac Cobb, et al., 2014). To best support the holistic development of their students, early childhood educators may benefit from accessing tools for teaching SEL that consider the sensory profiles of the children teachers work with.