Research shows – and you have probably seen firsthand – how important it is for children to feel secure, valued and cared about, and to develop strong social-emotional skills. As a TK teacher, you have the opportunity to play a vital role in children’s lives during a period of critical social-emotional growth.
Social and emotional development includes children’s experience, expression and management of emotions; pro-social behaviors; classroom behaviors (e.g., paying attention); self-confidence; and their ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others.
|Homes and Schools: “The emotional health of young children is closely tied to the social and emotional characteristics of the environment…” – Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Current research shows that self-regulation of emotions and behavior is one of the strongest predictors of academic success and leads to success in the workplace, in social settings and in life for all young schoolchildren. Confident learners that stem from your classroom will have the foundational tools they need for continued success in school and beyond.
Elements of Social-Emotional Development
Social-emotional development consists of three main areas of children’s self regulation in 1) acting (behaving in socially appropriate ways and ways that foster learning), 2) feeling (understanding others’ emotions and regulation of one’s own emotions) and 3) thinking (regulating attention and thoughts).
Examples of behavioral self-regulation include:
- interacting with teachers and peers in positive ways (e.g., sharing, taking turns);
- inhibiting negative impulses (e.g., hitting, pushing, yelling);
- solving problems with increasing independence; and
- negotiating solutions to conflicts with peers.
Examples of emotional understanding and self-regulation include:
- accurately identifying emotions in themselves and others;
- managing strong emotions such as excitement, anger, frustration and distress; and
- being empathic and understanding others’ perspectives.
Examples of cognitive self-regulation include:
- focusing attention on a lesson or an activity;
- screening distractions; and
- planning steps or strategies to complete a task or activity.
Supporting Social-Emotional Functioning