Rooted in science

Our approach is rooted in Social, Emotional and Cognitive development. Research shows that having a solid foundation in these three developmental areas during the preschool years sets the stage for later success.

Developed with leaders in the field

The OK Scientific Advisory Board is led by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, and made up of top psychologists and experts in the fields of social and emotional development, health, wellness, and play.

Our Experts

Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson

Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson

PhD, Developmental Psychology

Dr. Sue Smalley

Dr. Sue Smalley

PhD, Professor Emeritus UCLA

Jennie Grammer

Dr. Jennie Grammer

PhD, Professor UCLA

Dr. Megan Jones Bell

Dr. Megan Jones Bell

Chief Science Officer @ Headspace

Teri Hendy

Teri Hendy

President, The Hendy Institute

Lisa Flook

Dr. Lisa Flook

PhD, Clinical Psychology

Our Framework

OK Play’s science-based curriculum is rooted in Social, Emotional and Cognitive development

Emotional skills refer to children’s ability to recognize emotions in themselves and others, express emotions in various ways (verbal and non-verbal), and regulate difficult emotions. The emotional skills we focus on at OK Play are:

Understanding Emotions

The ability for children to recognize, understand, and label emotions in themselves and others, using both verbal and non-verbal “clues”.

Expressing Emotions

The ability for children to express their emotions in a variety of ways, such as with words, hand signals, art, music/sounds, and movement/dance.

Regulating Emotions

The ability for children to monitor and express emotions in contextually appropriate ways and to utilize strategies to manage difficult emotions.

Reference Library

  1. Blewitt, C., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Nolan, A., Bergmeier, H., Vicary, D., Huang, T., McCabe, P., McKay, T., & Skouteris, H. (2018). Social and Emotional Learning Associated With Universal Curriculum-Based Interventions in Early Childhood Education and Care Centers: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open, 1(8), e185727–e185727.
  2. McClelland, M. M., Tominey, S. L., Schmitt, S. A., & Duncan, R. (2017). SEL Interventions in Early Childhood. The Future of Children, 27(1), 33–47.
  3. Denham, S. A., Blair, K. A., DeMulder, E., Levitas, J., Sawyer, K., Auerbach–Major, S., & Queenan, P. (2003). Preschool Emotional Competence: Pathway to Social Competence? Child Development, 74(1), 238–256.
  4. Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C. E., Weissberg, R. P., & Durlak, J. A. (2017). Social and Emotional Learning as a Public Health Approach to Education. Future of Children, 27(1), 13–32.
  5. Svetlova, M., Nichols, S. R., & Brownell, C. A. (2010). Toddlers’ Prosocial Behavior: From Instrumental to Empathic to Altruistic Helping. Child Development, 81(6), 1814–1827.
  6. Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L., Belsky, D., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Poulton, R., Roberts, B. W., Ross, S., Sears, M. R., Thomson, W. M., & Caspi, A. (2011). A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(7), 2693–2698.
  7. Cole, P. M., Ram, N., & English, M. S. (2019). Toward a unifying model of self-regulation: A developmental approach. Child Development Perspectives, 13(2), 91–96.
  8. Domitrovich, C. E., Cortes, R. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (2007). Improving young children’s social and emotional competence: A randomized trial of the preschool “PATHS” curriculum. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(2), 67–91.
  9. Hajal, N. J., & Paley, B. (2020). Parental emotion and emotion regulation: A critical target of study for research and intervention to promote child emotion socialization. Developmental Psychology, 56(3), 403–417.
  10. Montroy, J. J., Bowles, R. P., Skibbe, L. E., McClelland, M. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2016). The development of self-regulation across early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 52(11), 1744–1762.

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