An investigation of the implementation of the greeting circle to promote social and emotional skills in pre-kindergarten children
The research study investigated the effectiveness of the implementation of the Greeting Circle to promote social and emotional skill development in pre-kindergarten children. The participants in the study were nine pre-kindergarten teachers from three campuses in a charter school district. This research study utilized a phenomenological mixed methods approach. The qualitative data was collected to support the quantitative data. Qualitative data was collected using focus group interviews. Quantitative data included the Children’s Learning Institute Progress Monitoring Tool (CLI) (University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston, 2017) Social and Emotional Behaviors Checklist and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) (Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2008). Classroom quality was measured by the CLASS observations in the fall and spring. There are three domains in the CLASS scoring system: Educational Support, Instructional Support, and Classroom Organization. Mean scores for Emotional Support and Classroom Organization increased, while there was a decrease in mean scores for Instructional Support. Changes in scores from fall to spring were not significant. Children’s social and emotional skill development was measured using the CLI Progress Monitoring Tool. The CLI was used by the pre-kindergarten teachers to score the children’s skills across five dimensions: Positive Social Behavior, Classroom Community, Regulation, Self-Care, and Approaches to Learning. The fall and spring scores for each of these dimensions were used in the analyses. Additionally, data based on the Social and Emotional Behaviors totals were used to determine the overall progress in social and emotional skill development for boys and girls. The children made significant gains in mean scores in four of the dimensions. Self-Care scores increased but not significantly. The total mean scores for Social and Emotional Behaviors increased significantly. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the best predictors of the spring Social and Emotional Behaviors total scores. The independent variables included the CLASS domain scores, the teachers’ years of teaching, and children’s gender. None of the variables were found to be significant predictors. Focus group interviews were conducted with pre-kindergarten teachers at each of the campuses. Teachers described their experiences with implementing the Greeting Circle. The focus groups interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed by the researcher. Based on several readings of the transcripts, four themes emerged. These themes were supplementing curriculum, use of strategies, challenges, and successes.