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Which Social Emotional Skills to Teach

social emotional skills


Last summer we were at the dealership buying my husband a truck. We were talking to the salesman (whom we knew and was a previous neighbor) and he was talking about his dad.  His dad had been struggling with dementia and memory problems. His brother, who is also helping care for their dad had been getting frustrated because of the memory loss. The salesman shared how angry his brother would get with having to repeat himself. Then, he said “it takes as much energy to get angry as it does just to repeat yourself.”

Well, my mind went straight to the preschool world. Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated with children because we asked them multiple times to do something. But, the truth of the matter is- we also know how many repetitions it takes before a new skill or behavior sticks.

It takes just as much energy to get upset as it does to re-teach….actually I gather it might even take less energy, seeing as there is no anger to contend with!

Teaching, re-teaching, re-teaching, re-teaching… it’s part of our job.

But, sometimes, based on our own thoughts and mindset around behavior we forget or are un-aware that social and emotional skills are skills.  Skills we need to teach.

One way I’ve always taught social emotional skills are in the moment. I act as a moderator guiding children through the problem solving process. But, I’ve also started teaching these skills more intentionally in whole group.

I had thought about just using small group time for teaching these skills, but settled on whole group because I wanted everyone to hear the message.  Boy am I glad I did!  I was surprised at what happened!

My students who were not necessarily showing me that they needed help with social emotional skills became the cheerleaders and coaches to my students who did need them.  It was amazing to watch students helping students with these skills.  Which is why I am SOO happy I decided to teach social emotional skills in whole group.

Before I could really get into teaching these skills, I needed a rough idea of which skills to teach.

So, I headed to Casel.org (amazing website) to get some social emotional information. Using the info I learned, I created a list based on skills that were appropriate for the preschool age group.

You can snag this free list here.

Next up in this series: Read about How to Teach Social Emotional Skills in Whole Group.

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