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Presentation on theme: "REFLECTIONS ON SUPPORTING SOCIAL- EMOTIONAL GROWTH IN YOUNG CHILDREN Betsy Evans."— Presentation transcript:


2 Social-Emotional Learning The U.S. NAEYC Accreditation Standards for social- emotional development requires that the following be included in the curriculum :  Positive interactions with others (adults and peers)  Recognizing and naming feelings  Regulating one’s emotions, behavior, & attention  Developing a sense of competence and positive attitude toward learning  Resolving conflicts and developing empathy.

3 Two adult-child interaction strategies for supporting social-emotional growth  1. Imitate children’s actions: enter play quietly and observe. Using the same materials as the child, imitate what they are doing. Notice how the child responds. Describe the child’s actions (“You made lots of curvy, swirly lines!”) Have a conversation and use questions sparingly.  2. Recognize and name children’s feelings: simply describe what you see (“you look really frustrated!”) and reflect the feeling in your voice. Do not ask questions about feelings.

4 1. Imitate children’s actions  Play provides the perfect cocoon for social and emotional growth. Because it is fun, it relieves stress, provides problems to solve, builds new skills, and promotes relationships. It is an essential action for becoming a complete human being. (Evans)   “Old-fashion play builds serious skills.” (Spiegel”)  “ allows children to develop self-regulation or ‘executive functions’ which predicts school success better that IQ.” (Bodrova and Berk)

5 Practicing imitating actions….  With a partner, stand up.  One person is the “child”, one is the supporter.  The “child” will move their arms in various ways.  The supporter will describe those “actions”. As you describe, use vocabulary that might be new for a young child.  Now imitate those actions.  Switch roles.

6 2. Recognize and Name Children’s Feelings: Teaching Strategies  Accept children’s full range of emotions as normal : ~ No judgments about emotions as good or bad. Set limits on behaviors & name feelings. ~ Accept children’s current expressive level, which might be aggressively verbal, withdrawn, or physical. Set limits on behaviors & name feelings ~ Use “upset” if you are unsure about a feeling. Be more specific if possible, using : sad, mad, worried frustrated, disappointed, scared, excited, etc. Set limits on behaviors & name feelings

7 Be Proactive About Feelings!  Name your own feelings, being sure that you are naming them realistically (don’t say “sad” or “disappointed” if you are worried, mad or frustrated).  Call attention to the feelings of others.  Talk about emotional expressions in books and photographs.  Tell stories that include emotions using puppets.  Incorporate conversation about feelings as an everyday experience, as you would math, science or other curriculum concepts.  Use the 6 Problem-solving Steps for conflicts.

8 What are children learning when adults respond to conflicts without social-emotional support? - If you hit someone, say “ sorry ” really quick (even if you aren ’ t sorry) … adults like that. - Make sure you have the toy when the adult comes over … you ’ ll look like you had it first. - Look really sad when the adult comes over … you ’ ll look like the victim. - Don ’ t grab stuff when adults are looking … wait til their backs are turned. - Don’t take any chances; adults are scary…be perfect. - If you’re told you’ll get a cookie if you’re “good”, ask for 2, and tomorrow ask for 3… - Don ’ t trust adults; they yell and take sides … instead RUN! > CHILDREN ARE LEARNING TO MANIPULATE ADULTS.

9  “ The emotional brain … [ is] an integral part of the circuitry that activates and directs messages to the cortex, and the crux of the attention system. It can either facilitate learning or, quite literally, shut down the thinking systems …”  Jane Healy, Your Child ’ s Growing Mind, 1994

10 How do feelings affect thoughts and what can adults do to support emotional learning? This child’s thoughts and feelings are in balance. [The next 8 slides are not in the Handout]

11 Feelings Thoughts An emotionally-healthy environment, where thoughts and feelings are fully supported, promotes the social-emotional learning that makes cognitive learning possible. The Importance of Social-Emotional Development & Learning

12 Feelings escalating Extreme stress Classroom conflicts Family conflicts Everyday stress

13 Feelings! Thoughts

14 When children are very upset... Avoid: questions “it’s ok” “calm down” “use your words” “say sorry” Instead : get on the child’s level gently reach out use a calm voice name feelings

15 When adults say, “You are feeling sad (mad, frustrated...”), children fully empty out those feelings.

16 Feelings Thoughts When thoughts and feelings are back in balance, the ability to think and learn returns.

17 Thoughts and feelings back in balance.

18 To understand children’s feeling expressions… Let’s play ball!

19 In closing… “Children’s play takes its meaning from the here and now, not the future. In their dramatic play children combat their feelings of being small and powerless….. By making believe they too are grown up, they get a sense of mastery and control over their world.” (Elkind) Children On A Log: A True Story

20 To contact Betsy, go to or email:


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