Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2020

Document Type

Education 590 Project

Degree Name

Master of Education



Department Chair or Program Director

Epps, Beverly

First Advisor

Vernimb, Peter

Major or Concentration




This thesis seeks to understand better how the mental health of young children, in interaction with the holistic health of their families, impacts their early stages of social-emotional development. The goal of this research is to expand recognition of the relationship between early-life interpersonal relationships, the educational system, and future behaviors. To accurately assess and support students’ social-emotional development, growth, and competence, teachers must have an awareness of connections between education and early-life interpersonal relationships. To carry out both tasks, early childhood educators need to acknowledge that young children can have mental illnesses – as can older children and adults. This study explores the interconnections between family support, classroom support, and school-related services for mental health available for young students. This study also explores the importance of a holistic collaboration of systems within the school that supports young children with mental health issues.