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Craig S. Bailey, PhD

Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center; Director of Early Childhood, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Child Study Center

Extensive Research Description

Promoting School Readiness Through Emotional Intelligence: An Efficacy Trial of Preschool RULER (R305A180293; PI: Bailey, Co-PIs: Brackett, Mashburn, and Tominey)

With funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, this five-year project (2018-2023) is designed to test whether Preschool RULER, a whole-school approach aiming to promote emotional intelligence for preschool-aged children and early childhood educators, has an impact on children’s school readiness and school and classroom climate in 72 preschools across Connecticut.

Preschool RULER was developed and adapted from RULER K-8 and aims to provide concrete tools and strategies that support educators integrating social-emotional skills into every aspect of the school day. The project targets emotional intelligence by focusing on five social-emotional skills remembered using the acronym: RULER (recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions). This project, in collaboration between Yale University, Portland State University, and Oregon State University, incorporates multisite cluster randomized control trial design with one group of schools receiving access to Preschool RULER and the other serving as a waitlisted business-as-usual control.

To examine its impact, researchers from Yale will use direct child assessments, classroom observations, and surveys to collect data on over 2,000 children's school readiness (i.e., social and emotional skills, approaches to learning, pre-literacy, and pre-math skills) in preschool and kindergarten. Observational and survey data will also be collected over 200 educators’ social and emotional skills, stress, social and emotional learning pedagogy, leadership, and school and classroom climate.

Bridgeport Early Childhood SEL Initiative (Steering Committee Chair and PI: Bailey)

With funding from the Tauck Family Foundation, this five-year community-based, research-to-practice partnership (2018-2023) between Yale University and local community stakeholders is tasked with creating a community of practice by infusing SEL into the culture and infrastructure of the community and ensuring coordinated, high quality SEL programming and supports for the early childhood educators, young children, and families of Bridgeport, CT.

Led by the Initiative’s Steering Committee and 4 Workgroups (i.e., SEL Programming, Assessment and Data Systems, Research and Evaluation, and Community Outreach and Family Engagement), the Initiative will (1) give access to RULER to all of Bridgeport’s center-based and family-based childcare providers, (2) strengthen and coordinate SEL programming between Bridgeport’s early childhood settings and Bridgeport Public Schools, (3) use SEL as a catalyst to share resources by creating and facilitating a community-wide professional development network of providers and stakeholders, and (4) use SEL as a catalyst to build a community-wide assessment framework ultimately bridging systems within early childhood and between early childhood and the public school system. First piloted in Norwalk, Connecticut, with funding from the Grossman Family Foundation, this Initiative exists alongside SEL initiatives across Connecticut, serving specifically as a test-case for providing access to RULER at the community level in early childhood settings by emphasizing mutual collaboration, intentionality, and shared vision, a direct parallel to implementation within a district or within a school for systematic approaches to SEL.

With support from the Yale Consultation Center, data will be collected to evaluate whether the Initiative is making a difference in Bridgeport’s early care and education settings as well as in the lives of educators and leaders. Survey data will be collected from Bridgeport’s early childhood center- and family-based childcare staff who are working with the Initiative and will include indicators of school and classroom climate, efficacy, relationships, social and emotional skills, and general indicators of wellbeing.

Hartford Early Childhood SEL Initiative (PI: Bailey)

With funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, this three-year research-to-practice partnership (2019-2022) is tasked with ensuring coordinated, high-quality SEL programming and supports for the early childhood educators, young children, and families in and around Hartford, CT. The Initiative will leverage work in the Hartford region, including an IES-funded randomized control trial of RULER as well as coordinated efforts to expand access to RULER in pre-K-12 school-based settings. This Initiative will (1) offer access to RULER to family-based childcare providers in the Hartford region; (2) collaborate with a select group of local Parent Leaders to develop brief, accessible, relevant, and culturally responsive and inclusive content to enhance family and family-childcare provider emotional intelligence, and (3) work with existing community stakeholders to find unique ways to evaluate community impact of RULER by leveraging new and existing data. First piloted in Norwalk, Connecticut, with funding from the Grossman Family Foundation, this Initiative exists alongside SEL initiatives across Connecticut, serving to demonstrate a way to provide access to RULER at the community level in early childhood settings by emphasizing mutual collaboration, intentionality, and shared vision, a direct parallel to implementation within a district or within a school for systematic approaches to SEL.

China Early Childhood RULER Pilot (PIs: Brackett and Bailey)

The purpose of this pilot project is to lay the groundwork for introducing and infusing RULER into preschools (ages 3–6) across China as well as studying RULER efficacy and implementation in China. Specifically, over three years (2018-2021), we intended to (1) translate and culturally adapt RULER's approach to school-based SEL for use in Chinese preschools based on an emerging understanding of the role of emotional intelligence with Chinese preschoolers and their teachers, (2) develop Chinese-based strategic partners to support piloting of RULER in local preschools and research, (3) use a rapid prototyping framework to initially pilot and refine RULER in Chinese preschools, and (4) begin testing and studying RULER efficacy and implementation. We expect significant outcomes to emerge from this project, including contribution to the science of early childhood in China and fostering China-US collaboration around SEL. Importantly, each goal for this project successively sets up and leads into the next, such that translation, cultural adaptation, and relationship building in Year 1 supporting later piloting, refinement, and research in Years 2 and 3. Strategic partners for this project include the Yale China Association as well as university-based partners in China.

The Development and Validation of the Social and Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary School (R305A210262; PI: Cipriano, Co-PIs: Strambler, Bailey)

The promotion of social and behavioral outcomes alongside academic development is a primary goal of education in the U.S. Yet, in the absence of a high-quality measure of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) pedagogy, little is known about how SEL practices promote student development. The purpose of this project is to support educators in improving student social, behavioral, and academic success as well as educators' own professional growth through the development and validation of the Social and Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary School (SELOC-ES), an observation tool for elementary classrooms specifically designed to capture SEL pedagogy.

With funding from IES, we’re developing the SELOC-ES through a mixed-methods design to support the practical utility within school, state, and district assessment frameworks. In Year 1, the researchers will begin with 1) a content analysis of evidence-based elementary school SEL curricula to identify the key processes and activities of SEL pedagogy in elementary school classrooms; 2) strategic classroom observations and interviews with 12 experienced SEL School Leaders (SLs) and 12 K-5 teachers from diverse school districts across the country; and 3) convening an advisory board of SEL experts. Year 1 research activities will inform development of initial SELOC-ES items and refine the SEL Pedagogy Framework. In Year 2, basic feasibility testing will be conducted with 24 SLs and 24 teachers to refine draft items and create the SELOC-ES observation system. In Years 3 and 4, the researchers will 4) pilot the SELOC-ES to establish initial evidence of psychometric properties and refine the observation tool and system alongside 50 SLs and 300 classrooms across the country; 5) conduct a cost analysis of SELOC-ES implementation; and 6) re-convene the advisory panel and SLs to share the final tool for immediate adoption to support effective SEL implementation and professional development.

Coauthors

Research Interests

Child Development; Education; Emotions; Early Intervention, Educational; Emotional Intelligence

Selected Publications

  • Emotional intelligence in the first 5 years of lifeDenham, S. A., Zinsser, K. M., & Bailey, C. S. (2011). Emotional intelligence in the first 5 years of life. In R. E. Tremblay, M. Boivin, R. DeV. Peters, M. Lewis, (Eds.), Encyclopedia on early childhood development. Montreal, Canada: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/documents/Denham-Zinsser-BaileyANGxp1.pdf
  • Exploring the predictable classroom: Preschool teacher stress, emotional supportiveness, and student’s social-emotional behavior in private and Head Start classrooms.Zinsser, K. M., Bailey, C. S., Curby, T. W., Denham, S. A., & Bassett, H. H. (2013). Exploring the predictable classroom: Preschool teacher stress, emotional supportiveness, and student’s social-emotional behavior in private and Head Start classrooms. NHSA Dialog: The Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field, 16(2), 90–108. https://journals.uncc.edu/dialog/article/view/95
  • Questioning as a component of scaffolding in predicting emotion knowledge in preschoolers.Bailey, C. S., Denham, S. A., & Curby, T. W. (2013). Questioning as a component of scaffolding in predicting emotion knowledge in preschoolers. Early Child Development and Care, 183, 265–279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2012.671815
  • An overview of emotional intelligence in early childhood.Bailey, C. S. & Rivers, S. E. (2018). An overview of emotional intelligence in early childhood. In L. Dacre-Pool & P. Qualter (Eds.), An introduction to emotional intelligence (64–80). Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Social and emotional skill development in early childhood.Tominey, S. L., Olsen, S. G., & Bailey, C. S. (2019). Social and emotional skill development in early childhood. In D. Whitebread (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of developmental psychology and early childhood education (pp. 115–132). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • RULER: A theory-driven, systemic approach to social, emotional, and academic learning.Brackett, M. A., Bailey, C. S., Hoffman, J. D., & Simmons, D. (2019). RULER: A theory-driven, systemic approach to social, emotional, and academic learning. Educational Psychologist, 54(3), 144–161. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2019.1614447
  • Teaching emotion regulation in schools: Practical and actionable steps for educators.Hoffman, J. D., Brackett, M. A., Bailey, C. S., & Willner, C. J. (in press). Teaching emotion regulation in schools: Practical and actionable steps for educators. Emotion.
  • Computerized social-emotional assessment measures for early childhood settings.Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., Zinsser, K. M., Bradburn, I. S., Bailey, C. S., Shewark, E. S. Ferrier, D. E., Liverette, K. H., Steed, J., Karalus, S. P., & Kianpour, S. (2020). Computerized social-emotional assessment measures for early childhood settings. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 51, 55–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2019.07.002