We, as preschool teachers, are the experts of social and emotional behaviors. Just think about how many times you may have intervened in a squabble, comforted a crying child, calmed an angry one or helped a child solve a problem.
Probably quite a bit, huh?
But, in all honesty, sometimes doing these things over and over again makes you feel insane. Why can’t these children just play nice?! You are putting out fires left and right. Sometimes being a firefighter is all you do in a day… there has GOT to be a better way!
Here is what I do when I feel that insanity coming on…I flip my script…
I remind myself that I work with children and children aren’t born knowing.
Are children born knowing how to zip their coats? No. Just like they aren’t born knowing how to handle emotions, conflict or social situations.
So, what do we do- we teach them to zip their coats… and we teach them to handle emotions, conflict and social situations.
Funny thing is though that social emotional skills aren’t usually deemed important, because…well they aren’t academic skills. Plus, they aren’t as easy to put onto paper. There is no test that can accurately measure how good we are at social emotional skills, there is no score on a grade-card.
Therefore, social emotional learning gets pushed off.
But, might I argue that learning how to handle one’s emotions and interacting with others in a positive way is a HUGE part of being a successful human being? Just think about later in your preschooler’s lives… they will need to handle their emotions without hurting others or themselves. They will also need to be able to interact with others at their job, in their relationships and with authority figures. Knowing how to count to a million or tie shoes isn’t going to keep them out of trouble when, as an adult, they use their hands instead of their words… just sayin.
So, my preschool teacher friends – it starts with us!
We can help teach our littlest learners about social emotional skills. We can be that catalyst.
But, what types of Social Emotional Learning skills might we need to teach?
Check out my Master List of Social Emotional Skills to TEACH: