Thanks to the increasing interest in social and emotional development in early childhood, more teachers are learning how to teach social skills. These skills are critically important for the brain development in early childhood.
It is never too early to be teaching pro-social skills, according to Ellen Booth Church, author of Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum. In her work with educators across the globe, she's developed a method of incorporating social-emotional learning into every aspect of the school day.
Below are 3 of her ways to support social-emotional development in young children.
Math activities build the essential social skills of cooperation and sharing. Small- and large-group activities work best with a team and provide children with the opportunities to help each other explore concepts and ideas. The fun of sorting and classifying is heightened when the group works together to explore these concepts in different ways. Patterning is more interesting when someone "reads" your pattern and shares it with you.
Language is an essential element of social and emotional growth. It is through their communication of thoughts and feelings that children learn to express themselves. These language activities are designed to encourage children to verbally share within the whole group as well as in smaller group activities. They will build vocabulary and the ability to speak in front of a group.
Motor activities are the basis for building social cooperation, turn taking, and helping skills. Many of these activities need a partner or a group to be successful, and this makes for a natural bridge between motor and social skills. Children build self-confidence as they master both their small- and large-motor abilities. Who does not feel thrilled when she learns to snap her fingers or hop on one foot?
Want more? Check out Church's new book, Getting to the Heart of Learning: Social-Emotional Skills across the Early Childhood Curriculum.