Date of Award



© 2016 Michael Maschi

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Grania Holman

Second Advisor

Ella Benson

Third Advisor

Vanessa Clark


The study of resilience in young children has captured the attention of many researchers over the last twenty years. A number of research questions about resilience have focused on the definition and use of the term, conditions under which resilience is likely to develop in children, the characteristics/traits associated with resilience, and how to best teach resilience. While there have been considerable advances in the ways that we think about and teach resilience, there is still much debate about how and when to teach resilience (Ashdown & Bernard, 2012). In addition, the procedures and methods used to provide scholarly explanations to these questions have varied and are diverse. The research questions associated with this study were crafted with this debate in mind.

What impact might explicit, skills-based resilience building instruction have on preschool students’ levels of resilience as indicated by both teacher and parent perceptions on a valid measure of social competence? And;

How might the results be organized, given levels of significance, to inform a hierarchical approach to learning these skills-based resilience building strategies?

The research questions took into account the conditions required for learning new skills (skills-based vs. standards-based), as well as, the conceptual framework’s assumption that the skills should be taught sequentially and collaboratively. The teachers and parents whose perceptions were the foundation of this study are associated with students who were enrolled in two of the four afternoon, half-day, four year-old preschool sessions in the Jones Township School District in the mid-Atlantic United States. One of these sections served as the control group in which the teacher used the typically prescribed curriculum that includes five standards addressing social-emotional development (2014 New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards- NJPTLS) required by the district. The other section featured a prescribed series of twelve 30-minute explicit skills-based resilience building activities presented weekly by the classroom teacher over a twelve-week period. This instruction supplemented the district required instruction that took place in the control group section. This study employed quantitative methods in order to explore teacher and parent perspectives of preschool students’ levels of resilience after the use of explicit skills-based resilience building instruction (ESRBI) over a twelve-week period. Pre and post-test data secured from participants from the Social Competence Scale SCS- parent and teacher versions yielded Likert scale data for analysis in this study. The results of this study indicated that the use of ESRBI did have a statistically significant impact on the identified treatment group in the study. The results also indicated that the academic benefits associated with ESRBI were considered to be statistically significant. Finally, ordinal item analysis data to inform a sequential or hierarchical approach to ESRBI was derived from the work.


Ed.D. Dissertation

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."