CDP Video Gallery


The goal of the Child Development Project (CDP) was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of elementary classroom and school activities that foster children’s prosocial development. For twenty years beginning in 1980, the CDP staff worked in a wide variety of schools (large and small; rural and urban; middle income and high poverty) across the United States to craft activities and supportive materials to help teachers create caring learning communities and support the moral or character development of their students.[1] For a detailed description of CDP and its effects see the chapter by Victor Battistich in the Handbook of Moral and Character Education.[2]

Ultimately CDP consisted of several interrelated activities or components aimed at creating caring communities and fostering moral character—class meetings, collaborative learning, activities to help students bond with one another, a values rich approach to language arts, and family and buddy activities. CDP also asked teachers to use a unique approach to classroom management and discipline called Developmental Discipline. This approach views students as still developing their social and ethical competencies and needing adult help and guidance to do so. Rather than focusing on the control of behavior through rewards and consequences, Developmental Discipline focuses on building ethical understanding and empathy, teaching the social and emotional competencies required for moral behavior, and supporting reparation.

Because these CDP components were often unfamiliar to teachers and thus difficult to envision and learn, midway through the project the CDP staff developed curriculum guides and video tapes showing sample activities in real classrooms with real teachers and students. Toward the end of the CDP, Developmental Studies Center (DSC) conducted a small number of summer institutes for preservice faculty in order to share with them the print and video materials developed by the project.[3] The print materials can be viewed and purchased from the DSC. Many of the videos are briefly described below and can be viewed on this website.[4] For many of the videos there are also examples of how they have successfully been used in preservice, inservice, and school collegial study.

Also, because in addition to focusing on helping students learn to work together considerately and productively, the CDP was grounded in constructivist approaches to teaching and learning, many of its goals and instructional strategies are aligned with the Common Core Standards calling, for example, for more collaboration and thoughtful discussion, close reading and deep thinking about texts, presentation and demonstration, and student research and inquiry[5].


[1] Eric Schaps was the Director of the CDP, Dan Solomon, Research Director, Victor Battistitch, Assistant Research Director, Marilyn Watson, Program Director, and Lynn Murphy, Director of Materials Development. While the CDP is over, DSC currently conducts a staff development program, Caring School Community, which is based in the CDP.

[2] Battistich, V. (2008). The Child Development Project: Creating Caring School Communities. In L. Nucci and D. Narvaez (Eds.), Handbook of Moral and Character Education: (pp.328-351). New York: Routledge.

[3]For an example of the use of CDP materials and approaches in teacher preparation, see, Watson, M.S., Benson, K.D., Daly, L. & Pelton, J. (2013). Integrating Social and Ethical Development into the Preservice Curriculum: Building on the Child Development Project. In M. N. Sanger and R. D. Osguthorpe (Eds.), Integrating Social and Ethical Development into the Preservice Curriculum: Building on the Child Development Project. New York, TC Press.

[4] Peter Shwartz was the producer of the videos.

[5] Coleman, David, and Pimentel, S. (2012). Revised Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades 3-12.

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