Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Mara Sapon-Shevin


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which cooperative games promote prosocial behavior interactions of young children with and without impairments and can be used for successful integration. Specific outcomes include: (a) a cooperative games model which can be used as a framework for selecting, modifying, or creating games that promote prosocial behavior; (b) a games curriculum designed to promote affective, psychomotor, and cognitive behaviors; and (c) a proposal of ways a cooperative games curriculum can facilitate social integration of children with and without impairments.

Sixteen children from the Moorhead State University Preschool between the ages of three and four years served as subjects for the study. Four children exhibited developmental delays of one to two years. A Behavior Interaction Checklist was used to record positive and negative physical contact and verbal interactions and goal-related cooperative behaviors. Children were observed and behaviors recorded over three conditions: Condition l~regularly scheduled gross motor play program; Condition 2--cooperative games intervention program; and Condition 3--regularly scheduled gross motor play program following intervention. Each condition lasted three weeks and included four 30- minute sessions per week. All 36 sessions were led by a licensed physical education teacher. Four trained observers watched four children using a recurring 30-second time sampling per child. Quantitative data were collected to show incidence of behavior interactions for each child and group and to allow comparisons in behavior interactions between conditions. Qualitative research methods were used to provide a more descriptive analysis of the relationship between game characteristics and resulting types and levels of behavior interactions for game participants.

Findings generated by the study include the following: (1) Cooperative games resulted in higher rates of positive physical contact than free play, especially for handicapped children. (2) Minimal effect on positive verbal interactions resulted from cooperative games participation. (3) Cooperative games enabled players to demonstrate high rates of goal-related cooperative behaviors. Lower rates were associated with free play, especially for handicapped participants. (4) The cooperative games program was an effective intervention in decreasing instances of negative physical contact and negative verbal interactions. (5) Specific game characteristics facilitated successful participation and positively affected player performance.