Research shows – and you have probably seen firsthand – how important it is for children to feel secure, valued and cared about, and to develop strong social-emotional skills. As a TK teacher, you have the opportunity to play a vital role in children’s lives during a period of critical social-emotional growth.
Social and emotional development includes children’s experience, expression and management of emotions; pro-social behaviors; classroom behaviors (e.g., paying attention); self-confidence; and their ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others.
Homes and Schools: “The emotional health of young children is closely tied to the social and emotional characteristics of the environment..."
- Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Current research shows that self-regulation of emotions and behavior is one of the strongest predictors of academic success and leads to success in the workplace, in social settings and in life for all young schoolchildren. Confident learners that stem from your classroom will have the foundational tools they need for continued success in school and beyond.
Social-emotional development consists of three main areas of children’s self regulation in 1) acting (behaving in socially appropriate ways and ways that foster learning), 2) feeling (understanding others’ emotions and regulation of one’s own emotions) and 3) thinking (regulating attention and thoughts).
Examples of behavioral self-regulation include:
- interacting with teachers and peers in positive ways (e.g., sharing, taking turns);
- inhibiting negative impulses (e.g., hitting, pushing, yelling);
- solving problems with increasing independence; and
- negotiating solutions to conflicts with peers.
Examples of emotional understanding and self-regulation include:
- accurately identifying emotions in themselves and others;
- managing strong emotions such as excitement, anger, frustration and distress; and
- being empathic and understanding others’ perspectives.
Examples of cognitive self-regulation include:
- focusing attention on a lesson or an activity;
- screening distractions; and
- planning steps or strategies to complete a task or activity.
Supporting Social-Emotional Functioning
Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)™ for Pre-K
Teachers’ abilities to support social and emotional functioning in the classroom are central to effective classroom practice. The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)™ for Pre-K describes measures of Emotional Support in a classroom climate that encourage positive social-emotional development and learning.
Establishing a Positive Learning Climate
Regard for Student Perspectives
TK allows you the gift of time to move your students along the standards continuum, preparing them for a successful kindergarten year ahead. As there are no set standards for TK, WestEd and the Child Development Division of the California Department of Education developed a publication that aligns the Preschool Learning Foundations with the Kindergarten Common Core State Standards to help guide developmentally appropriate TK instruction. Find the publication here. The alignment of the foundations and the common core standards illustrates the developmental progression of TK-aged students.
- The kindergarten content standards related to social-emotional development are included as part of the health domain, under the mental, emotional and social health strand, rather than as a separate domain.
- Some, but not all, of the content in the preschool domain Social-Emotional Development aligns with the mental, emotional, and social health strand of the kindergarten Health domain.