Introduction and Purpose
This course will walk you through the importance of supporting children’s developing social and emotional competence. The emphasis will be how, we as VPK teachers, teach effective pro-social skills through specific and explicit instruction around friendship skills, emotional literacy, and how to handle anger and disappointment. These skills are necessary for young children so that can effectively and efficiently interact and react to the social situations they will encounter as young children. Further, it will give them the necessary foundation to build more complex social skills as they continue in their life-long pursuits. Additionally, the suggested practices are simple methods that can be done every day in the context of your busy classroom with limited preparation. So enjoy this journey to supporting children’s emerging social and emotional competence.
What is Social and Emotional Development in VPK age Children
Social and Emotional Development is the process of developing the social and emotional skills needed to control one’s emotions and interact with other children, adults, and the environment. When a VPK student has these skills they have the:
- Confidence and competence needed to engage with others and classroom activities
- Ability to develop good relationships with peers and adults/make friends/get along with others
- Ability to persist at tasks
- Ability to follow directions
- Ability to identify, understand, and communicate own feelings/emotions
- Ability to constructively manage their strong emotions
- Ability to develop empathy
Why is Social and Emotional Development in Classroom Matters
One of the main goals of early schooling is to teach children social and emotional competence, the set skills and behaviors that allow children to interact successfully with others in a way accepted by their society. Social and emotional competence has six elements:
- Social values, such as caring, honesty, and responsibility
- Interpersonal skills, such as maintaining relationships, communicating feelings, and agreeing to compromises
- Cultural competence, such as interactions with those of different backgrounds, the recognition of unfair treatment, and actions
- Positive self-identity, including sense of worth and sense of purpose
- Planning, organizational, and decision-making skills, such as listening, following directions, and solving problems
- Self-regulation, including reflecting on feelings, controlling impulses, and resisting peer pressure
All these skills are required for school readiness and have the highest correlation to school success over any single academic skill.
Implicit and Explicit Instruction: The Key to Learning Social Skills
Description and Organization of Course
In Review: There are Three Key Considerations in supporting and growing children’s social and emotional competent
- Specific and explicit teaching of friendship skills
- Developing emotional literacy
- Providing ways to manage and handle disappointment and anger
The content of this course is designed to help you address the social and emotional development of four-year-olds in your classroom. Throughout the course, references will be made to the specific competencies that should be developed in children related to social and emotional development.
The Developing the Socially and Emotionally Competent Child Course is organized into five sections: Welcome; Importance of Intentionally Teaching Social skills; Building Emotional Literacy to Support Children’s Communication and Interactions ; Developing Strategies to Support Children’s Anger and Disappointment; Summary and Charge, and Resources. The three instructional topics include:
- Importance of Intentionally Teaching Social skills focuses on the importance of specifically teaching friendship skills. This is done so children understand exactly what the skills are, how and when to use them, and opportunities to practice them to assure understanding and future use.
- Building Emotional Literacy to Support Children’s Communication and Interactions incorporates strategic ways to use the literacy strategies you are already using to build children’s communication skills around expressing their emotions in acceptable and developmentally appropriate ways.
- Developing Strategies to Support Children’s Anger and Disappointment spotlights strategies to teach children how to recognize their anger and disappointment and how to react and respond in ways that are acceptable.
All three components are strategy driven topics. Combined they are highly effective in developing children’s abilities to appropriately interact with peers and adults. Additionally it provides them with the tools to handle situations that can be frustrating and trying. By increasing the positive and pro-social interactions in young children you are reducing the likelihood of challenging behaviors.
Course Goal: At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to develop age appropriate learning opportunities to promote children’s acquisition of foundational pro-social skills in the classroom.
Course Learning Objectives: Upon course completion participants will be able to:
- Identify the importance of being intentional about teaching social and emotional skills, thus identifying opportunities and strategies for supporting the development of friendship skills
- Define emotional literacy and identify activities that build emotions vocabularies to provide opportunities for children to begin to understand their own, as well as others’ emotions.
- Understand the need for children to control anger and handle disappointment as well as, be able to identify anger management skills and teach problem solving.