Social emotional learning and Preschool

Nearly every parent I come across parents have a strong desire for their children to succeed in school. They are always asking me how well they are doing academically, and requesting things to do at home with their child. As an early childhood educator, I know that academic success is important. There are many things I work on daily with my students to help them succeed in school, phonemic awareness, handwriting skills, math concepts and more, but my first and foremost goal for all of my children is to develop positive social emotional intelligence. In the youtube video featuring Marcus Garvey school in Chicago, several bulletin boards, classroom spaces, and lesson plans are shown devoted to SEL. At the preschool and pre-kindergarten levels, social emotional learning takes place in every lesson I teach. Each activity is a chance for the children to develop appropriate social skills and learn to control their own emotions. I say “use your words” at least ten times during any given activity. Preschoolers in my care are encouraged to use pretend play as a way to act out some of the social scenarios they will encounter as they grow. Sometimes our dramatic play area is transformed into a supermarket, so children can explore the social interactions that take place as they shop for groceries. Often, a child will pretend to be the teacher, the manager, or the boss and they will problem solve how to successfully run a team and how to get other children to enjoy working under them. For me as an educator, it is very satisfying to watch the students discussing how to fairly split up jobs or deciding how to best take turns with the cash register. I see their growth and development in their reading and writing skills, but it really shines through as their social emotional behavior. It is this that I try to stress to the parents, the importance of teaching young children appropriate behavior skills and helping them develop into socially and emotionally healthy people.


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