Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Robin Love


Art, Child, Development, Emotional, Preschool, Social

Subject Areas

Early childhood education; Art education; Education


This study investigated the extent to which low-income preschool children’s social, emotional, and behavioral competence improved after engaging in a six-week-long arts program. Participants included 46 students of three, four, and five years of age in two low-income, state-funded classrooms in the San Francisco Bay Area. Analyses of children’s scores on SCBE-80 measures of Social Competence and Egotistic-Prosocial showed statistically significant change from the pretest to the posttest. Teacher survey report of students’ frequency in social adaptation and enjoyment of the arts suggested that teachers observed social improvements in the classroom that were consistent with SCBE-80 results in Social Competence. Student interview results in frequency in emotional adjustment showed that children were more likely to identify their emotions, as was consistent with SCBE-80 results in Egotistic-Prosocial. Teachers reported that the arts program was a positive addition to the classroom and that they would be likely to continue the arts program in their classrooms if given the option. Taken together these findings lend empirical support to the argument that arts education can lead to social and emotional improvements in low-income populations. Further study of the critical elements of art program structure or type is recommended.