Next week, the Junior School and the ELC will host guest speaker and child psychologist Ariadne Lack, who will present a workshop on ‘Strength Based Parenting’; a practical way to help unlock each child’s potential and focus on their strengths in building their resilience, optimism and sense of achievement.
In the early years, a young child’s confidence and wellbeing are built from their emotional skills, which in turn contributes to their social development. These are so-called ‘soft skills’ that have proven to have a significant impact on a child’s development and overall performance in and out of school. In a quality early childhood program, such learning is recognised as an essential component of the curriculum.
What are social and emotional skills?
Social and emotional skills are linked but not the same. We all have emotions and we all need to learn to manage them; they enable us to make the most of our own lives and develop respectful and fulfilling relationships.
Emotional skills are about learning to regulate and express feelings appropriately. Social skills are about relating to others. They involve being able to be a friend, to negotiate our needs and difficulties, to be assertive without being aggressive and to relate effectively with peers and adults.
Why should social and emotional learning be the basis for our early childhood curriculum?
Research overwhelmingly suggests that social and emotional learning is important. The Early Years Learning Framework, our national early years curriculum, reflects this view with its first principle based on the significance of relationships to learning.
Without social and emotional skills, children cannot learn as effectively and are unable to make the most of their education.
How do we teach social and emotional skills?
The Early Years Learning Framework highlights the importance of teaching social and emotional skills. While children learn these skills from interactions and through modelling, they are also taught in a planned way within our program.
In addition, capturing ‘teachable moments’ as they arise is most beneficial - listening and talking with the children about how they are feeling and ways to express their emotions and needs.
Here are some strategies we consider in the ELC to assist with the children’s social and emotional development –
- When issues arise, embracing the moment and talking through with the children their feelings and resolutions.
- Role modelling and acting are great opportunities for illustrating ways of resolving conflict and possible outcomes.
- Picture books and music with themes of friendship and emotions are wonderful teaching resources for discussing our feelings and interaction with others.
- Remembering that behaviour is a means of communication.
- Arguably, the most important strategy - ensuring we establish meaningful relationships with each child so they feel safe and valued.
We look forward to joining many of our ELC and Junior School families at the ‘Strength Based’ parenting workshop next Tuesday night, from 6-7.30pm (enter from the stairs next to Dalton Hall).