Degree Name

MA in Conflict Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider


Social competency skills are valuable tools for navigating the socialization of elementary-aged children in public schools in the U.S. This Capstone paper addresses one program, Reach Out to Schools Social Competency Program, Open Circle, and its impact on a specific class of second graders in Ridgewood, NJ. Using phenomenological inquiry in the structure of , we seek to understand the impact of this particular social competency program on the conflict management skills of these students. Through interviews and participant observation, the impressions of the students are communicated through storytelling and direct comments about their experiences with Open Circle.

Students candidly communicate their experiences working through social struggles in the context of Open Circle and the school environment. They acknowledge skill development as they clearly describe how their friendships and social interactions have been affected by their exposure to Open Circle.

This research is applicable to further curriculum development in social competency and social and emotional learning fields. Further study of the experiences of children with their socialization could help to understand and transform social trends of violence in schools.


Education | Peace and Conflict Studies


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