Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness

Promising Program

Program Design

Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness is a social-emotional learning curriculum that uses free-standing lesson, and teaching practices approaches to engage with students in prosocial learning experiences. The curriculum consists of 8-themed weeks, each consisting of three 10-20 minute lessons (called ‘Finn Breaks’). Within each themed week, ‘Finn Breaks’ provide students the opportunities to engage with and practice social emotional competencies.  The program’s design offers the utmost flexibility for scheduling ‘Finn Breaks’ in their instructional schedule. Examples of themed weeks include ‘Kind or Unkind,’ ‘All About Feelings,’ and ‘What is Bullying?’

The program also includes full-color posters to be used as anchor charts for reinforcing skills from the curriculum and themed incentives (e.g., stickers) for students. Also included are plush puppets featuring four of the main characters (Captain McFinn, Three-Tooth, Stank, and Tox) for use during certain ‘Finn Breaks.’  These characters are also featured in fully-animated shorts (accessible online) that accompany each themed-week. Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness also provides a letter to send home with student informing their caregiver about the program and how to extend the practice of the skills to home. Because this program offers a single grade-banded curriculum as opposed to differentiated curricula by grade, it is designated a Promising.

Training and Implementation Support

Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness offers a train-the-trainer model of training support. The program provides two 30-minute webinars that cover (among other topics) the importance and theory of SEL, the program’s research and evidence base, and a walkthrough of the program itself. In addition to these webinars, the program’s staff can provide tailored technical assistance and support upon request.

Additionally, the program’s Teacher Resource Manual contains ample guidance for a teacher implementing in their classroom and additional resources to support implementation fidelity and track student progress. Resources include a fidelity checklist, pre- & post-assessments, and teaching strategies that align with and support each week’s theme.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a quasi-experimental longitudinal study supported the effectiveness of Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness for young children. In sum, this evaluation included 122 students who were in kindergarten and 1st grade. Evaluation report results indicated that students who participated in Captain McFinn: Explore Kindness demonstrated fewer problem behaviors (i.e., relational and physical aggression) and showed more positive social behaviors (i.e., empathy, prosocial behavior, emotion regulation skills, and prosocial communication) at post-test (outcomes reported eight weeks after baseline), while controlling for outcomes at pretest.

Penn State Behrend & Susan Hirt Hagen CORE. (2020). Results for the Captain McFinn Explore Kindness: Social skills curriculum.  Penn State Behrend, Erie Pennsylvania.