When first starting school, preschoolers face a variety of changes. From meeting new teachers and classmates to singing new songs and learning how to count, children have a lot on their plate when beginning their academic journey. And while curricular features are important in introducing students to the learning process, teachers should also consider how to foster social-emotional skills for preschoolers. Through this lens, it’s necessary to develop these skills early to help children get on the path to success in and out of school.
Why Social-Emotional Skills for Preschoolers are Significant
Defining social-emotional development in children helps demonstrate its importance. Bradley Busch and Ben Oakley wrote in The Guardian that emotional intelligence includes five primary components:
- Emotional control
- Relationship construction
These emotional intelligence characteristics comprise the foundational skills that help give students access to independence and academic success.
Emotional intelligence is an effective predictor of success for children into adulthood. A Psychology Today article delved into a study that found emotional intelligence accounts for 54% of the variations in success, which consist of factors that include relationship success, healthy living, and quality of life. According to the article, “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.” These benefits can motivate educators to integrate social-emotional skill development into their classes.
To understand the benefits of forming emotional skills for preschoolers, consider how emotionally intelligent adults can excel in their fields. Dr. Travis Bradberry wrote in Business Insider that emotional intelligence “affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.” He found that emotional intelligence has connections to patient, empathetic, and effective problem-solving. This logic gives reasons for educators to create classroom conditions that support social development in preschoolers.
How to Support Social and Emotional Development in Preschoolers
When deciding how to incorporate effective strategies to promote social and emotional development in preschoolers, the options can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, educators can blend social and emotional development activities into typical classroom instruction.
Give children the tools and language to understand their emotions.
Enabling students to express their feelings helps make the learning process much smoother. Here, teachers can establish vocabulary games that center on the communication of feelings. They can also use pictures, video materials, songs, and partnered activities to help preschoolers learn how to express themselves.
Read books that build empathy.
Storytime is a great way to get preschoolers to think beyond their perspectives and experiences. By introducing students to new ways of thinking, teachers can promote a more empathetic approach to learning. One option is to select books that let preschoolers connect with characters offering new points of view.
Build an environment that welcomes the open communication of feelings.
When students feel comfortable expressing themselves in their environment, they can develop a greater sense of self-awareness. As a hallmark feature of emotional intelligence, self-awareness helps preschoolers learn and engage with their peers. Positive and welcoming learning environments also help instill a positive relationship with learning.
While these strategies are helpful entry points, the best way to prepare preschoolers to become more emotionally intelligent is by learning from experts with experience in the field. Through Point University’s online Bachelor of Science in Child Development, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to create activities and environments that cultivate physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual development. Complete the affordable program 100% online and prepare to apply for an Early Education Teacher Certificate from the Association of Christian Schools International.
Read the full version of this article for more insight into how you can enable preschoolers to develop social-emotional skills.