Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Supervisor

Dr Loraine Corrie


The primary focus of this study is to explore young children's knowledge of their social network and their social competence and the links with their social behaviour. The secondary focus is to investigate ways in which young children may be helped to articulate such knowledge. The six participants were pairs of five-year old children selected from three pre-primary classes located in a common school. Each pair comprised a socially able and a less socially able child as selected by their class teacher. Self-reports, dialogue-interviews, video-taped vignettes and dolls were used to help the participants talk about their knowledge of their social networks and their social competence. Classroom observations were made to determine the extent to which children's reports aligned with their social behaviour. Results showed that young children are able to articulate knowledge about the abstract concepts regarding their social world. The study found that the children who knew more about their social network also knew more about behaving in socially competent ways and exhibited a greater degree of those behaviours. The children who knew less about their social network also knew less about behaving in socially competent ways and exhibited a lesser degree of social competence. Resulting implications include increasing teacher awareness of the kinds of social stresses facing many pre-primary children today, and implementing strategies in the classroom for maximising children's knowledge about their social networks and social competence.