Evaluating the effectiveness of a social and emotional learning program among preschool children in Japan: an experimental cohort study
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume 17, Article number: 93 (2023)
Research on school maladjustment has increasingly focused on social skills, such as the ability to control emotions, collaborate with others, and achieve goals. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is one approach to nurturing social skills. However, few preventive interventions to promote SEL have been conducted among young children, particularly in Asian countries, including Japan. Therefore, this study examined the effectiveness of an SEL program—Fun FRIENDS—among children in Japan.
In mid-2022, the Fun FRIENDS program was administered to 115 children aged 4–5 years, who were enrolled in two kindergartens. The program was administered to the entire class as part of their kindergarten activities. The control group included 93 children in three kindergartens. This study included 94 participants (81.7%) in the intervention group and 66 (71.0%) in the control group, whose parents agreed with the assessment of their skills. Fun FRIENDS is a support program based on a cognitive–behavioral approach. The program aims to teach children how to cope with anxiety and stress and develop resilience and confidence to face difficulties. The program includes 10 sessions, each lasting approximately 1 h and conducted once per week. To examine the program’s effectiveness, teachers evaluated these children’s social skills before and after program implementation using the Social Skill Scale.
Results showed significant post-intervention improvements in self-control and cooperation scores among children in the intervention group, compared with pre-intervention. Further, post-intervention self-control and cooperation scores were significantly higher among children in the intervention group than the control group.
SEL implemented on a class-wide basis could be effective in early childhood. An early approach targeting preschool-aged children is necessary to prevent school maladjustment. A universal approach implemented on a whole-class basis could contribute to improving children’s social skills.
In recent years, school maladjustment has been increasing in Japan, with the number of truant students in elementary and junior high schools reaching 240000 in 2021, the highest number ever recorded in the country . This increase has been accompanied by a growing interest in social skills among researchers and policymakers . Social skills, also known as non-cognitive skills, include the ability to control emotions, collaborate, and achieve goals [2, 3]. Kindergartens and nurseries, where children spend a substantial part of their preschool years, are important environments for nurturing social skills; therefore, considerable attention is devoted to enhancing these skills in early childhood education and care [2, 3]. Appropriate support is necessary during the transition from infancy to school age, to prevent maladjustment in school life [2, 3]. Moreover, support methods to address school maladjustment, such as truancy, withdrawal, and behavioral problems, are being sought [2, 3]. Problems in continuity from early childhood to school age pose a higher risk for families with lower socioeconomic status and could be linked to the cycle of poverty [4, 5]. However, while the importance of preschool support has been established, the efforts that could effectively foster social skills are yet to be clarified [4, 5]. In other countries, preschool measures targeting families with low socioeconomic status in poor areas have been implemented, and the effectiveness of these strategies has been confirmed . In Japan, similar measures have been limited. As families with low socioeconomic status are not necessarily concentrated in one area, and the relative poverty rate in Japan is characterized as high among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries , it is difficult to establish a general approach. Thus, to implement effective measures in Japan, adopting a universal approach that will not limit the target to high-risk families is crucial.
The concept of social and emotional learning (SEL) involves the development of social–emotional skills [8, 9]. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a nonprofit organization based in the United States, was established in 1994 to define SEL [8, 9]. CASEL identified five competencies that children acquire through SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making [8, 9]. Several universal programs have been developed for use as part of SEL, and their effectiveness have been reported primarily in countries other than Japan [10,11,12]. FRIENDS, a support program based on a cognitive–behavioral approach, is one such program [13, 14].
FRIENDS programs are supported by the World Health Organization as evidence-based programs, and a meta-analytic review of the programs provides evidence . FRIENDS is grounded in cognitive–behavioral therapy and is activity- and play-based . Variations of the program have been adapted for all age groups—preschool through adulthood . The purposes and practices of the program in schools and preschools fit well into the SEL framework . It includes a series of programs: Fun FRIENDS for 4–7-year-olds, FRIENDS for life for 8–11-year-olds, My FRIENDS Youth for 12–15-year-olds, FRIENDS for children aged 16 years or older, and Adult Resilience for individuals aged 16 years or older [13, 14]. These programs were developed to meet the needs of children at each developmental stage [13, 14]. Moreover, their effectiveness has been verified in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Mexico, among others; and they have been reported to reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms, develop social and cognitive skills, and improve resilience and self-esteem . Fun FRIENDS, which is designed for use with young children, aims to help them learn how to cope with anxiety and stress as well as develop resilience and confidence to face difficulties. However, its validation has been scarce, especially in Asian countries such as Japan .
This program was developed in Australia, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated in Western countries. The effectiveness of the program could differ between Western and Asian countries, where there are differences in linguistic and non-linguistic expressions. This study was conducted to verify whether the program developed in Australia would be effective in Japan. The ultimate goal is to reduce the poverty gap using SEL and preventing school maladjustment. Early preventive intervention during childhood is highly effective for improving and managing mental health not only during school age but also during adolescence and adulthood [18,19,20]. However, few SEL preventive interventions for young children have been conducted in Japan; although the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS has been examined among elementary school children , the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS has not been fully tested among young children in Japan. Consequently, to prevent school maladjustment, examining the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS targeting young children is crucial. In kindergartens, Fun FRIENDS has been implemented as a preschool initiative. Therefore, this study measured this program’s effectiveness by assessing children’s social skills before and after the program. We hypothesized that children’s social skills would improve after program implementation.
In 2022, the Fun FRIENDS program, a major SEL program worldwide, was implemented for 4-year-old children enrolled in a middle-year kindergarten class in Wakayama Prefecture, a suburb in Japan. The intervention group comprised 115 participants from two kindergartens. The control group comprised 93 participants from three kindergartens. To ensure an adequate sample size, this study was conducted at several kindergartens. Kindergartens with similar educational policies were selected. Children whose parents disagreed with the assessment of their skills (intervention group: n = 7, control group: n = 23) were excluded from the statistical analysis but were still offered the intervention program. Children with language disorders or pervasive developmental disorders (intervention group: n = 11, control group: n = 4) were excluded from the statistical analysis; however, they were also offered the intervention program. Such disorders were assessed based on various parent and teacher reports. Consequently, the analysis included 94 children in the intervention group and 66 children in the control group (Fig. 1).
Teachers were asked to administer the Social Skills Questionnaire for Preschoolers (SSQ-P) before and immediately after the intervention. The Fun FRIENDS program was implemented by facilitators who were trained teachers and have completed the educational course prescribed by Fun FRIENDS. The program was implemented over approximately 2.5 months. All sessions were attended by homeroom teachers.
The Fun FRIENDS program is designed to help children learn various ways to cope with anxiety and stress and to help them develop social skills, resilience and confidence in their ability to face difficulties [13, 14, 22]. The program includes 10 sessions lasting approximately one hour each, which are conducted once per week. The Fun FRIENDS program teaches children cognitive–behavioral strategies to address several areas of social–emotional learning. The program utilizes play-based activities to deliver skills in a developmentally appropriate manner. The program name, Fun FRIENDS, is an acronym for the strategies taught in the program; each letter corresponds to a component of the program. Thus, FRIENDS is an acronym for the theme of each session: F-Feelings, R-Relax, I-I can try, E-Encourage, N-Nurture, and D-Do not forget to be brave! For a detailed description of the contents of the sessions, see Additional file 1: Appendix S1 , as well as Pahl and Barrett . A facilitator with expertise in the relevant field conducted the program. A Japanese version of the materials was prepared, and several facilitators were involved in the program to ensure its quality.
In 2008, a pilot study was conducted with Japanese families living in Brisbane, Australia. The founder, Dr. Barrett, provided resources to Dr. Matsumoto, who led the research and translated the manual and workbook into Japanese. Cultural adaptations or considerations, such as characters, activities, and time frames, were discussed between them. Additionally, the program has been implemented with preschoolers in child care settings in Japan since 2010.
Social skills were measured using the teacher-reported SSQ-P . The SSQ-P was developed in Japan and comprises three measures of children’s social skills. It contains 24 items divided into three subscales (i.e., assertion, self-control, and cooperation) [24, 25]. These subscales are based on the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) introduced by Gresham and Elliott  and are positively correlated with social skills of the SSRS. This rating system is one of the most widely used social skill scales and has been used in influential National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studies [27, 28]. Items are rated on a three-point Likert scale (0 = never, 1 = sometimes, and 2 = very often), with higher scores indicating better social skills. The utilized subscale has shown sufficient internal consistency, construct validity, and internal reliability in previous studies. In addition, the researcher fully explained the SSQ-P to the teachers to ensure that they could use it accurately.
The presence or absence of the Fun FRIENDS program intervention (intervention and control groups) was the explanatory variable.
Parents reported information on their family structure (single-parent or two-parent family), household income (< 4 million Japanese yen [JPY], ≥ 4–8 million JPY, ≥ 8 million JPY), and parents’ educational level (middle school/high school, junior college/vocational school, university, or graduate school).
A chi-squared test was used to examine differences in attributes between the intervention and control groups at baseline. We also analyzed the differences between the intervention and control groups before and after program implementation using an independent t-test. Further, we analyzed changes in social skills before and after the program (T1 vs. T2) in the intervention and control groups using paired-samples t-tests. All analyses were conducted using SPSS 29.0 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA).
As Fun FRIENDS was a preschool initiative, all children aged 4–5 years enrolled in the included kindergartens participated in the program. Prior to the intervention, the parents were informed of the study purpose and associated procedures and were made aware that participation was voluntary. Parents provided written informed consent for themselves as well as on behalf of their children before participation. This study was approved by the Kyoto University Ethics Committee (C1563).
Study participant demographics at T1
Table 1 shows participants’ demographics at T1. The average age of the children was 4.72 (± 0.33) years for the intervention group and 4.82 (± 0.33) years for the control group. Participants’ sex distribution was 51 (54.26%) and 30 boys (45.45%) in the intervention and control groups, respectively. The differences in attributes between the intervention and control groups were assessed using a chi-squared test. No significant differences were found.
Differences in social skills (intervention vs. control group)
Figures 2, 3 and 4 show the differences in changes in social skills between the intervention and control groups. The differences in social skills in the intervention and control groups were examined using an independent t-test. There were no significant differences in social skills between the intervention and control groups at T1. However, the intervention group had significantly higher self-control and cooperation scores than the control group at T2.
Changes in social skills (T1 vs. T2)
Table 2 shows the changes in social skills (T1 vs. T2). The differences in social skills between T1 and T2 were examined using paired-samples t-tests. In the intervention group, social skills were significantly higher in self-control and cooperation at T2 than at T1. However, the control group did not exhibit significant differences in social skills between T1 and T2.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS, a universal prevention intervention program, among preschool children. Compared with the control group, the intervention group showed significantly greater increase in self-control and cooperation after the intervention.
Children’s self-control and cooperation improved after the intervention. These social competencies influence social adjustment during childhood and throughout life [30,31,32,33]. The Fun FRIENDS program teaches children various cognitive–behavioral strategies for addressing several areas of social–emotional learning [13, 14, 22]. The program is unique because, in addition to focusing on reducing negative aspects, it also promotes certain protective factors, such as resilience and wellbeing. This study utilized play-based activities to deliver skills in a developmentally appropriate manner to help children develop self-control. The program enhances self-control and cooperation through teaching, including understanding emotions of oneself and others, learning how to control emotions such as anger, and recognizing the presence of people one can rely on. The program contents included understanding and controlling one’s own emotions (see Additional file 1: Appendix S1 for details).
The results demonstrated the effectiveness of the Fun FRIENDS program for Japanese children. This program is structured based on cognitive–behavioral therapy. As such, it could be effective across cultural backgrounds. In addition, this could be because the kindergarten teachers also participated in the program, understood its content, and implemented the program’s learning outside of the program sessions. Prior research focused on the potential effectiveness of the Fun FRIENDS program as a universal school-based prevention intervention—that is, the program was offered to young children regardless of their risk status [34, 35]. As children attending preschool spend much of their day in kindergarten, this environment provides a common entry point for providing interventions to several children. The kindergarten environment is a suitable pathway for identifying children who need support and for providing the services they are entitled to. Kindergartens are ideal places for implementing preventive intervention programs aimed at promoting social–emotional competence during early childhood. A universal approach is one that can be applied to the whole group or classroom. The Fun FRIENDS program teaches children cognitive–behavioral strategies to address several areas of social–emotional learning [13, 14, 22]. The program facilitates appropriate skill development utilizing play-based activities. Universal interventions are generally designed to promote general mental health or to build wellbeing and resilience.
Assertion was not affected by this program. This program teaches children a variety of cognitive–behavioral strategies to address several areas of social–emotional learning. The program utilizes play-based activities and provided skills in a developmentally appropriate manner to help children develop cooperation and self-control. The program enhances self-control and cooperation through teaching, including understanding one’s own and others’ emotions, learning how to control emotions such as anger, and recognizing the presence of people one can rely on. Therefore, contents contributing to assertion may have been scarce.
Limitations and future research directions
Despite this study’s strengths and unique contributions, some limitations and future research directions must be noted. The greatest limitation of this analysis was that it was based solely on teachers’ reports of children’s social skills. Children’s subjective evaluations and evaluators’ objective evaluations should be added in future studies. Additionally, participants in the control group were not offered an alternative to the FRIENDS program. As the teachers in the control group were aware that the children in their classes were in the control group, a potential placebo effect could have occurred. Further, this analysis only evaluated the program immediately after its implementation. Neil and Christensen noted that without a long-term follow-up, potential effects could be missed, leading to an underestimation of the program’s effectiveness . Further, the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS has been tested. Antich reported that the intervention group had higher social–emotional skills than the control group, not only immediately after but also 12 months after the program . Similar results were observed in a 12-month follow-up evaluation of the FRIENDS program for youth, implemented as a universal school-based intervention. Although conclusions about the program’s effectiveness in a 12-month follow-up were limited by the small sample size, available data showed that the effects were maintained during this period [37, 38]. Thus, ongoing testing is necessary to determine whether any long-term effects can be observed in childhood interventions. Further, the evaluation of social skills in this study relied on teacher reports. Although practical constraints make it difficult to include other treatment outcome measures in a community mental health setting, future studies should include other strategies for assessing outcomes (e.g., child-reported or third-party observation reports). In addition, as this study was conducted in Wakayama Prefecture, which is a rural region, the results may not be generalizable to other areas. Future research should include urban settings. Finally, the current intervention primarily targeted children. In addition to preschool programs, full-fledged interventions with parents are necessary to ensure the implementation of the relevant practices at home.
Despite its limitations, the current results provide promising directions for future preventive interventions among young children. This study evaluated the effectiveness of Fun FRIENDS, a universal preventive intervention program, in preschool children. We hypothesized an increase in the children’s social skills post-intervention. Consistently, self-control and cooperation improved from pre- to post-intervention in the intervention group but not in the control group. This program is a unique child-centered intervention. Although further research is needed, this study indicated that direct interventions with children could be an effective strategy to improve social skills. Additionally, as this study was conducted in a general early childhood educational setting, the results can be used to assist future dissemination of the program.
Availability of data and materials
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
The collaborative for social and emotional learning
F-Feelings, R-Relax, I-I can try, E-Encourage, N-Nurture, and D-Do not forget to be brave!
Social and emotional learning
Social Skills Questionnaire for Preschoolers
Social Skills Rating System
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Jidoseito no mondaikodo hutoko to seitosidojyo no syokadai nikannsuru cyousakekka no gaiyou (in Japanese). 2018. https://www.mext.go.jp/content/20201015-mext_jidou02-100002753_01.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2023.
Heckman JJ, Rubinstein Y. The importance of noncognitive skills: lessons from the GED testing program. Am Econ Rev. 2001;91:145–9. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.91.2.145.
Kankaraš M, Chernyshenko OS, Drasgow F. Social and emotional skills for student success and well-being: conceptual framework for the OECD study on social and emotional skills. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2018. https://doi.org/10.1787/db1d8e59-en.
Hosokawa R, Katsura T. A longitudinal study of socioeconomic status, family processes, and child adjustment from preschool until early elementary school: the role of social competence. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2017;11:62. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0206-z.
Hosokawa R, Katsura T. Socioeconomic status, emotional/behavioral difficulties, and social competence among preschool children in Japan. J Child Fam Stud. 2018;27:4001–14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1231-0.
Diris R, Weel BT, Borghans L, Heckman JJ, Kautz T. Fostering and measuring skills: improving cognitive and non-cognitive skills to promote lifetime success. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2014. https://doi.org/10.1787/5jxsr7vr78f7-en.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Poverty rate. https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm. Accessed 8 May 2023.
Elbertson NA, Brackett MA, Weissberg RP. School-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programming: current perspectives. In: Hargreaves A, Lieberman A, Fullan M, Hopkins D, editors. Second international handbook of educational change. Heidelberg: Springer, Netherlands; 2010. p. 1017–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2660-6_57.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). https://casel.org. Accessed 8 May 2023.
Blewitt C, Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M, Nolan A, Bergmeier H, Vicary D, Huang T, et al. Social and emotional learning associated with universal curriculum-based interventions in early childhood education and care centers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1:e185727. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5727.
Corcoran RP, Cheung ACK, Kim E, Xie C. Effective universal school-based social and emotional learning programs for improving academic achievement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 50 years of research. Educ Res Rev. 2018;25:56–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2017.12.001.
Mondi CF, Giovanelli A, Reynolds AJ. Fostering socio-emotional learning through early childhood intervention. Int J Child Care Educ Policy. 2021;15:6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40723-021-00084-8.
Pahl KM, Barrett PM. The development of social–emotional competence in preschool-aged children: an introduction to the Fun FRIENDS program. J Psychol Couns Sch. 2007;17:81–90. https://doi.org/10.1375/ajgc.17.1.81.
Maggin DM, Johnson AH. A meta-analytic evaluation of the FRIENDS program for preventing anxiety in student populations. Educ Treat Children. 2014;37:277–306. https://doi.org/10.1353/etc.2014.0018.
Fisak B, Griffin K, Nelson C, Gallegos-Guajardo J, Davila S. The effectiveness of the FRIENDS programs for children and adolescents: a meta-analytic review. Ment Health Prev. 2023;30:200271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhp.2023.200271.
Iizuka CA, Barrett PM, Gillies R, Cook CR, Marinovic W. Preliminary evaluation of the FRIENDS for life program on students’ and teachers’ emotional states for a school in a low socio-economic status area. Aust J Teach. 2015;40:1–20. https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2014v40n3.1.
Briesch AM, Hagermoser Sanetti LM, Briesch JM. Reducing the prevalence of anxiety in children and adolescents: an evaluation of the evidence base for the FRIENDS for life program. School Ment Health. 2010;2:155–65. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-010-9042-5.
Stice E, Shaw H, Bohon C, Marti CN, Rohde P. A meta-analytic review of depression prevention programs for children and adolescents: factors that predict magnitude of intervention effects. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2009;77:486–503. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015168.
Fisak BJ Jr, Richard D, Mann A. The prevention of child and adolescent anxiety: a meta-analytic review. Prev Sci. 2011;12:255–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-011-0210-0.
Rasing SPA, Creemers DHM, Janssens JMAM, Scholte RHJ. Depression and anxiety prevention based on cognitive behavioral therapy for at-risk adolescents: a meta-analytic review. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1066. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01066.
Matsumoto Y, Shimizu E. The FRIENDS cognitive behavioral program in Japanese schools: an examination of the treatment effects. Sch Psychol Int. 2016;37:397–409. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034316649639.
Barrett P, Fisak B, Cooper M. The treatment of anxiety in young children: results of an open trial of the Fun FRIENDS program. Behav Change. 2015;32:231–42. https://doi.org/10.1017/bec.2015.12.
Takahashi Y, Okada K, Hoshino T, Anme T. Social skills for preschoolers: stability of factor structures and predictive validity from a nationwide cohort study in Japan. Jpn J Educ Psychol. 2008;56:81–92.
Anme T, Shinohara R, Sugisawa Y, Tanaka E, Watanabe T, Hoshino T. Validity and reliability of the social skill scale (SSS) as an index of social competence for preschool children. J Health Sci. 2013;3:5–11.
Takahashi Y, Okada K, Hoshino T, Anme T. Developmental trajectories of social skills during early childhood and links to parenting practices in a Japanese sample. PLoS ONE. 2015;10:e0135357. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135357.
Gresham FM, Elliot SN. Social skills rating system: manual. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service; 1990. https://doi.org/10.1037/t10269-000.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network. Fathers’ and mothers’ parenting behavior and beliefs as predictors of children’s social adjustment in the transition to school. J Fam Psychol. 2004;2004(18):628–38. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3184.108.40.2068.
Burt KB, Roisman GI. Competence and psychopathology: cascade effects in the NICHD study of early child care and youth development. Dev Psychopathol. 2010;22:557–67. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579410000271.
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Comprehensive survey of living conditions 2021. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/k-tyosa/k-tyosa21/dl/03.pdf. Accessed 8 May 2023.
Tao T, Wang L, Fan C, Gao W. Development of self-control in children aged 3 to 9 years: perspective from a dual-systems model. Sci Rep. 2014;4:7272. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep07272.
Montroy JJ, Bowles RP, Skibbe LE, McClelland MM, Morrison FJ. The development of self-regulation across early childhood. Dev Psychol. 2016;52:1744–62. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000159.
Endedijk HM, Cillessen AHN, Bekkering H, Hunnius S. Cooperation and preference by peers in early childhood: a longitudinal study. Soc Dev. 2020;29:854–70. https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12437.
Robson DA, Allen MS, Howard SJ. Self-regulation in childhood as a predictor of future outcomes: a meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull. 2020;146:324–54. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000227.
Pahl KM, Barrett PM. Preventing anxiety and promoting social and emotional strength in preschool children: a universal evaluation of the Fun FRIENDS program: a matched-pair trial. Adv Sch Ment Health Promot. 2010;3:14–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754730X.2010.9715683.
Anticich SAJ, Barrett PM, Silverman W, Lacherez P, Gillies R. The prevention of childhood anxiety and promotion of resilience among preschool-aged children: a universal school based trial. Adv Sch Ment Health Promot. 2013;6:93–121. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754730x.2013.784616.
Neil AL, Christensen H. Efficacy and effectiveness of school-based prevention and early intervention programs for anxiety. Clin Psychol Rev. 2009;29:208–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2009.01.002.
Lock S, Barrett PM. A longitudinal study of developmental differences in universal preventive intervention for child anxiety. Behav Change. 2003;20:183–99. https://doi.org/10.1375/bech.220.127.116.11383.
Stallard P, Simpson N, Anderson S, Carter T, Osborn C, Bush S. An evaluation of the FRIENDS programme: a cognitive behaviour therapy intervention to promote emotional resilience. Arch Dis Child. 2005;90:1016–9. https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.2004.068163.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the people who cooperated with us (children, their parents, and kindergarten teachers) during this survey.
This work was funded by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant number 21H03263). JSPS KAKENHI had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; or writing of the manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
This study was approved by the Kyoto University Graduate School and Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee (C1563). It was conducted following the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Parents provided written informed consent for themselves, as well as on behalf of their children, to participate in this study, with the understanding that it would comprise both baseline and follow-up surveys.
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Hosokawa, R., Matsumoto, Y., Nishida, C. et al. Evaluating the effectiveness of a social and emotional learning program among preschool children in Japan: an experimental cohort study. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 17, 93 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-023-00643-6
- Social and emotional learning
- Fun FRIENDS program
- Preschool children