Social and Emotional Development Promotes Cognitive Learning
Research has clearly shown that children’s emotional and behavioral adjustment is important for their chances of early school success. When children feel good about themselves they are able to develop positive relationships with others and know how to identify, express, and manage their emotions. Essentially, they are more likely to be ready to learn and succeed (Raver, 2002).
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) defines social-emotional development as the “capacity of the child from birth through 5 years of age to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, regulate, and express emotions in socially and culturally appropriate ways; and explore the environment and learn - all in the context of family, community, and culture.”
Teachers and caregivers play a vital role in supporting social and emotional wellness in all young children. When these needs are consistently met, children pay more attention to what is going on around them, are more open to exploring their environments, are better able to calm themselves and regulate their emotions, learn they can affect others through their actions, and begin to develop secure attachments to their teachers and caregivers. When these social skills emerge, children feel more competent and confident in building friendships, resolving conflicts, developing relationships, coping with anger and frustrations, and managing emotions (Parlakaian, 2003; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
Children who can relate to others, can calm themselves, or be calmed by others are more likely to be motivated and ready to learn, experience success in school, and become lifelong learners. Strategies to promote social and emotional development are most effective when both teachers and families are familiar with them. Then, these strategies can be used throughout the day and in real-life situations, which occur outside lesson times and in other settings.
In conclusion, an article by Dusenbury, Calin, Domitrovich, & Weissberg (2015) shares three general teaching practices designed to foster social and emotional skills.
1. Establish positive and predictable classroom environments using:
- Shared expectations or classroom rules that teachers and students develop together to establish positive norms for the classroom (e.g., listen respectfully when others are speaking).
- Practices that reflect and communicate high expectations for achievement.
2. Promote positive teacher-student relationships, including:
- Routines and structures such as morning check-ins or conflict resolution/peace corners.
3. Provide ongoing instructional practices, which support students’ social and emotional learning:
- Create events or classroom traditions that involve family and community members in meaningful ways in the life of the classroom and school.
- Ask questions in a way that will support and encourage students' learning.
- Create opportunities for students to explore their own interests and develop their own strengths.
- Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. (2008). Handout 1.7 definition of social emotional development. CSEFEL Infant-toddler Module 1. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/inftodd/mod1/1.7.pdf.
- Dusenbury, L., Calin, S., Domitrovich, C., & Weissberg, R. P. (2015). What Does Evidence-Based Instruction in Social and Emotional Learning Actually Look Like in Practice? Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
- Parlakian, R. (2003) Before the ABCs: Promoting School Readiness in infant and toddlers. Washington, DC: Zero to Three.
- Raver, C. (2002) Emotions matter: Making the case for the role of young children’s emotional development for early school readiness. Social Policy Report of the Society for research in child Development, 16 (3), 1-20.
- Shonkoff, J. P. & Phillips, D.A. (2000). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington D. C., National Academy Press.
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Join us for a webinar about working with children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In inclusive classroom environments, teachers work doggedly to facilitate learning that meets every child's needs, regardless of their abilities. However, teachers can be challenged when it comes to engaging children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Without specialized training and/or individual aides, teachers often are often unable to find the right strategies to meet the needs of children with ASD. This webinar will offer participants strategies they can use to engage and facilitate learning for children with ASD through the lens of CLI expert, Dr. Michael Assel, and the lens of an experienced practitioner Libby Hall. Join this webinar to learn the strategies they have used and refined through years of experience. The webinar will be happening on December 9, from 2-3:30 p.m. Register for the webinar here.