“The foundations of social competence that are developed in the first five years are linked to emotional well-being and affect a child’s later ability to functionally adapt in school and to form successful relationships throughout life.” National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Research shows that a child’s healthy social and emotional development correlates with healthy cognitive development and provides a foundation for both school achievement and lifelong success. According to the National Conference of State Legislators (NSL), the three main influences on healthy social-emotional development are biology (genetics and temperament); relationships with caregivers, caregivers/family members; and the environment (toxins, abuse, poverty, community, etc.).
A child’s social-emotional development begins at birth as the child learns that his or her needs will be met by his primary caregiver. It is when a child feels safe that attachment and learning take place. In order to grow and learn, the brain must feel safe. Once a child learns that his or her needs will be met by caregivers, it is then that a child is able to become inquisitive and curious about the world around them. With this new curiosity, a child is free to acquire new skills which will enable him or her to become a successful citizen in the future.
Some social-emotional skills that we want children to acquire that support school readiness include:
Confidence that they can achieve their goals and dreams.
Curiosity about the world around them.
- Initiative to learn and participate in and complete activities.
- Self Control to handle their reactions to the world around them, to attend to a task, and be able to follow directions.
- Empathy for those around them who are hurt or upset.
- Communication Skills to problem solve and work through conflicts with peers using their words.
- Cooperativeness ¬ to work with and learn from others.
By achieving these skills, children will be better equipped students and citizens in the future as they can develop and foster effective relationships with those around them.