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Encouraging Social Emotional Development in Preschool

Encouraging social-emotional development in preschool might be the most difficult job I have and also the most important. My days are filled with guiding behavior, teaching friendship skills, nurturing, giving positive descriptive feedback, resolving conflicts, redirecting, teaching children to recognize their feelings, and caring about others.

Encouraging Social Emotional Development in Preschool

Do you know? The single best childhood predictor of adult adaption is not school grades, and not classroom behavior, but rather, the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children. –Willard Hartup, President of International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development

These skills are crucial for children’s successful participation in school and home experiences and for their overall growth.

Self Concept

Helping children learn to get along starts with their own self-concept. Experience Curriculum activities help children learn how to express their preferences, take responsibility, and identify and manage their feelings.

Show Your Feelings Mirror Craft #MGTblogger
Learning to recognize and identify personal feelings and use strategies to manage behaviors are all part of developing self-concept. Our “I Am Special Trees” helped grow the child’s self-concept by allowing them to do their own work (I CAN trace, cut, glue, and paint to make this beautiful project), see the individuality of their projects, and share a very special part of themselves – their hand – with their families.

I am special tree preschool art #MGTblogger
I am special tree preschool art #MGTblogger Encouraging Social Emotional Development in Preschool

Learning about the feeling of being surprised! (This Make & Play was included in Friends & Feelings in 2018.)

learning about emotions

Social Relationships

Play is a vehicle for friendship. Through play, we can teach children how to get along with their peers.

Friendship skills we can teach through play:

  • Being helpful, assisting others
  • Sharing & Taking turns
  • Giving compliments
  • Reading your friends cues/signals
  • Building empathy
  • Organizing play
  • Knowing how and when to give apologies

Friend Puppets: Say hello to a friend. Puppets are great for role playing and demonstrating how to treat friends.Friend PuppetsSome toys and activities are designed for cooperative and interactive play. These two boys (age 21 months & 3 years, 8 months) were taking turns pulling each other in the wagon. Providing descriptive feedback and praising their cooperation helps all of the children present learn about how to treat one another.

preschoolers playing together and taking turnsLearning about sharing with “sharing boxes”. Sharing is not easy. Filling the box with special items they found outdoors, they could share them with their friends to practice the skill. First, I put some little candies in each box to demonstrate that I can share too.sharing boxChildren who are able to share have more positive experiences with their peers.  Children may offer to share materials they are using, respond to request from others, ask others to share or refuse to share. 

Friendship Train: Including everyone when you play

One Friend, Two Friends One friend, two friends, three friends, four, Five friends, six friends, Always room for more!

Circle of Friends Headband

puzzle headband

Self-direction or self-regulation includes: following rules and routines, maintaining attention, transitioning, and adapting.

Games that return turn-taking, help develop self-regulation skills.

Keys to Friendship game

keys to friendship game
Waiting short periods of time for a turn encourages attention span growth. Sharing the spinner is not easy. Being respectful of others’ ideas and decisions is part of being a friend.

friends and feelings

Community: A Sense of Belonging

We want children to feel welcome, secure, and have a sense of belonging. Preschool provides structure and daily routines that create a secure environment. Preschool encourages independence through are many opportunities to practice and master skills such as handwashing, putting on shoes and jackets, and helping one another.

Our Little Helper jobs have definitely brought a sense of community to our group. Everyone loves to do a job! It requires turn taking, helping each other and contributing to the needs of everyone.
Little Helper job sticks

preschool job chart magnets

Washing tables is a favorite job. A simple and safe method is using the travel size Norwex towels and water.
Little Helper Jobs wash tables
Feeding the rabbits is a daily chore. Animals need care too.
Little Helper Jobs feed rabbits
Snack time helper, counting out spoons. By helping with snacks, he’s helping care for others, and learning what he does is important to us.
Little Helper snack time helper jobInviting families in for a preschool open house was a big step in including parents and family members in our little community.

Preschool Open House Welcome Banner

We understand children need to be taught how to do many things. We also need to teach them about how to handle their emotions and how to be a friend. How will they know unless we teach?

The Friends and Feelings preschool theme offers such positive ways to start the school year!

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I received curriculum from Experience Early Learning for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. As a user of Experience Preschool for many years, I am pleased to share quality educational experiences. #sponsored #ExperienceEarlyLearning