The Importance of Nurturing Social Emotional Skills in Preschool

Social emotional development in KidsYou have probably heard of the term social emotional skills and the importance of integrating them into daycare and early learning centers. However, in all honesty, many of us are not really sure what social emotional skills actually are.

Early childhood and social and emotional skills

Social emotional development helps a child to learn important skills, such as how to be empathetic, kind, how to communicate with others, how to self-regulate and how to resolve a conflict. It is clear to see that these skills are very important and need to be developed in early childhood. These skills also help a child to get prepared for school. If a child, for example, does not have these skills, they will struggle to learn in a daycare or preschool classroom setting. They are more likely to have trouble following directions and may be more disruptive. It is clear to see the importance of these skills so below we will take a look at how social and emotional skills and nurtured in preschool.

  1. Playing with othersIn order for a child to develop and improve their emotional regulation, they need to be able to play with other children. It is important that preschools provide experiences where children need to work with each other and solve problems together.
  2. A social emotional basisA child needs an environment that is sensitive, attentive and responsive. This environment enables a child to learn skills such as self-regulation and self-control. These skills are important in order for a child to be able to become autonomous and make choices. While in preschool, children learn to develop skills such as taking turns. This skill, for example, encourages other skills related to sharing and caring for others.
  3. Mixing with children of similar agesWhen children are able to mix with other children in preschool, for example, they have the opportunity to develop what is known as a theory of mind. This allows children to understand that everyone has different feelings and thoughts, which may be different from theirs. It is important for children to develop a theory of mind as it enables them to feel compassion, empathy and kindness. Adults, in a preschool, as well as at home can help a child to develop their theory of mind by talking about how someone may be feeling or thinking, especially if an issue has arisen.
  4. Social problem solvingChildren encounter social problem solving many times in a day. For instance, it could be how to comfort a child who may be feeling upset or deciding on who gets to play with a toy that us popular. These situations provide children with the opportunity to come up with a solution with their peers. A child who resorts to hitting or has an aggressive approach may only be able to look at a situation from their own perspective and struggle to understand and deal with such conflict.

It is clear to see that the preschool environment provides endless opportunities for a child to develop those important social emotional skills.