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Social-emotional development
Evaluating social and emotional capability in very young children can be difficult. It depends on the age of the child, when the behavior occurs, the setting where it occurs, and which adults are present at the time. It also depends on the rules you have at home. For example, one family may tolerate loud talking and throwing of play toys while another family may tolerate only quiet voices and no throwing of objects indoors. A 2-year old who throws herself on the floor at the supermarket and screams because she can’t have a candy bar will not be labeled “unusual” while an 8-year old who does the same would be.

Social-emotional development

Educators discuss social-emotional development


Children need a combination of intellectual skills, motivational qualities, and social emotional skills to succeed in school. They must be able to understand the feelings of others, control their own feelings and behaviors, and get along with their peers and teachers. Children need to be able to cooperate, follow directions, demonstrate self-control, and pay attention.

Social Emotional DevelopmentOne of the most important skills that children develop is self-control. This is the ability to manage one’s own behavior so as to: resist impulses, maintain focus, and undertake tasks even if there are other more tempting options available. Self-control motivates the ability to take on every task. The outcomes are not just how children get along with one another but also how they can focus and learn in the classroom.


Social-emotional skills include the following:

The child is able to understand and talk about
his/her own feelings.

The child is able to have relationships with adults
and maintains an ongoing friendship with at least
one other child.

The child is able to engage in and stay with an
activity for a reasonable amount of time with
minimal adult support.

  The child understands the perspective of others
and realizes that their feelings may be different
from his/her own feelings.

The child is able to enter a group successfully.
Social-emotional development involves the achievement of a set of skills. Among them is the ability to:
Identify and understand one’s own feelings.

Accurately read and comprehend emotional reactions from others.

Manage strong emotions and their expression
in a constructive manner.
  Control one’s own behavior.

Develop compassion for others.

Establish and maintain relationships.

Social-emotional behaviors in preschool

Children with social and emotional problems enter kindergarten unable to learn because they cannot pay attention. It will be difficult for them to remember information on purpose, or act socially in a school environment. The result is growing numbers of children who are hard to manage in the classroom. These children cannot get along with each other or follow directions, and are impulsive. They show hostility
and aggression in the classroom and on the playground. The problems begin before kindergarten. In some USA studies more than 30% of preschoolers in Head Start programs have behavioral problems.

Teachers spend much time trying to restrain unmanageable children and less time teaching. In the US, early childhood teachers report that they are extremely concerned about growing classroom management problems, and that they are unprepared to handle them. Kindergarten teachers report that students come to school unprepared for learning academic subjects. If these problems are not dealt with, the result can be growing aggression, behavioral problems and, for some, delinquency and crime into adolescence and adulthood.

The preschool years are a vulnerable period for learning to control development of aggression. Children who display high levels of physical aggression in elementary school are at the highest risk for taking part in violent behaviors as adolescents.
 
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Social-emotional issues and peer relationships
Social interaction with peers builds upon the rules and habits that children first meet in their families. Although many adults assume that the influence of peers on adolescents is negative, it is often more positive than negative. Peers can provide stimulation through mutual activities and conversations. Friendships in particular can provide emotional security and compassion. Friends can often serve as an additional source of support outside of the family, especially in times of crisis.

Rejection by peers has been associated with persistent academic and social difficulties in primary school. That is why it is important to have skilled preschool teachers who can intervene when they see children having difficulties with peers and help the children learn how to resolve conflicts, control emotions, and respond to the feelings of others.

Social-emotional skills in the family
Parents and families play a huge part in a child’s social and emotional development. Early relationships with parents lay the foundation on which social skills and friendships are built. What children need from their parents to support positive emotional development is:

interact with their children affectionately;

express interest in their daily activities;

provide support during times of anxiety.

  show consideration for their feelings,
desires and needs;

respect their opinions; express pride
in their achievements;
This encouragement helps the child to develop early emotional capability. They will be better prepared to enter school, and less likely to display behavior problems at home and at school. This is why many preschool programs include a focus on parent involvement and parenting education.

Interactions with siblings are an important part of child development. These interactions influence the course of a child’s social and moral development, including that of good citizenship and good character. In general, having an encouraging relationship with parents and siblings is needed to become a positive adolescent.

Social-emotional support
Parents can consult with school staff or EC2 regarding the social and emotional behavioral needs of their children.
Once you have contacted us about concerns the following steps will be taken.

A consultation with school staff regarding classroom
and/or school approaches to behavior and to develop
positive behavior supports and interventions.

Planning and implementing appropriate academic
and other educational supports.

Interventions for students with chronic behavior
and emotional needs.

Small group and/or individual counseling for such
issues as social skills, anger control, etc.

Coordination and referral of children and families
to the EC2 and the Center for Youth & Family.
  Development of expectations such as positive
behavior and intervention, prevention of violence,
crisis planning and intervention, etc.

Measuring progress and improvement both for
individuals and also for programs.

Measuring progress and improvement both for
individuals and also for programs.

Screening, evaluation, identification and referral
for children displaying emotional needs.

If you're worried, don’t wait!
If you think that your child's learning difficulties may require special assistance, please do not delay in contacting EC2 or the school’s IGO. The sooner you move forward, the better your child's chances are for reaching his or her full potential.

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