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Strengthening Social and Emotional Competence in Young Children—The Foundation for Early School Readiness and Success: Incredible Years Classroom Social Skills and Problem-Solving Curriculum

Webster-Stratton, Carolyn PhD; Reid, M Jamila PhD

ISEI Article

The ability of young children to manage their emotions and behaviors and to make meaningful friendships is an important prerequisite for school readiness and academic success. Socially competent children are also more academically successful and poor social skills are a strong predictor of academic failure. This article describes The Incredible Years Dinosaur Social Skills and Problem-Solving Child Training Program, which teaches skills such as emotional literacy, empathy or perspective taking, friendship and communication skills, anger management, interpersonal problem solving, and how to be successful at school. The program was first evaluated as a small group treatment program for young children who were diagnosed with oppositional defiant and conduct disorders. More recently the program has been adapted for use by preschool and elementary teachers as a prevention curriculum designed to increase the social, emotional, and academic competence, and decrease problem behaviors of all children in the classroom. The content, methods, and teaching processes of this classroom curriculum are discussed.

From the University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, Wash.

The senior author of this article has disclosed a potential financial conflict of interest because she disseminates these interventions and stands to gain from a favorable report. Because of this, she has voluntarily agreed to distance herself from certain critical research activities (ie, recruiting, consenting, primary data handling, and analysis) and the University of Washington has approved these arrangements.

Corresponding author: Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, University of Washington School of Nursing, Parenting Clinic, 1107 NE 45th St, Suite 305, Seattle, WA 98105 (e-mail:

This research was supported by the NIH National Center for Nursing Research Grant #5 R01 NR01075-12 and Research Scientist Development Award MH00988-10 from NIMH. Special appreciation to Nicole Griffin, Lois Hancock, Gail Joseph, Peter Loft, Tony Washington, and Karen Wilke for piloting aspects of this curriculum and for their input into its development.

©2004Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.