Social & Emotional

Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley School Readiness Goals:
Goal 1: All children will develop healthy relationships with adults and peers.

Expectant Families will receive information regarding early learning and the importance of early bonding with their child. They will be encouraged to understand that they are their child’s first teacher in all things, and their own emotions will influence their child’s. The fact that a child’s social/emotional well-being determines success later in life will be shared, along with the fact that newborns recognize and prefer their own mother’s voice.

Infants will be comforted quickly when crying, with intention and respect. They will learn to turn to adults for security and comforting, play, language; and watch adults to judge their emotional state. Staff acknowledge, model, and label for children expressions of feelings helping children deal with frustration in constructive ways, soothing them, and comforting them by touching, talking, and patting. Staff will demonstrate positive, responsive, respectful interaction with children using the child’s name often in songs and games. Children will use the adults to help accomplish their own goals, having learned to trust them. Children will develop an interest in peers, especially when they are demonstrating strong emotions.

For Older Infants, staff will assist children to actively demonstrate interest in peers, e.g., offering toys, following, touching, and babbling to them. Having developed significant relationships with at least one adult, children will turn to that person for comfort. Staff might use pictures of children and their families in discussion through-out the day. Staff acknowledge, model, and label for children expressions of feelings helping children deal with frustration in constructive ways, labeling pictures of children demonstrating different emotions. (i.e., “Do you hear Georgia crying? She must be sad? Do you think she is hungry or needs a diaper changed?”

Toddlers will have an overall atmosphere of pleasantness most of the time, within the group it is apparent developing friendships have begun over time such as; comforting a friend who is unhappy; playing with peers for extended periods of time; carrying on conversations; laughing together; and missing a peer who is absent.

Goal 2: All children will develop the ability to self-regulate by developing and demonstrating control of some of their feelings and behaviors.

Expectant Families will receive information regarding the development of children and the importance of allowing children choices. They will be encouraged to be responsive to their baby and to use positive techniques of guidance to encourage children to self-regulate. Suggestions of re-direction, planning ahead to prevent problems, positive reinforcement, encouragement specific to the task, consistent and clear rules explained to younger children and discussed and designed by older children; natural, logic, and fair consequences, as well as appropriate behavior modeling.

For Infants, staff will be involved in talking to, singing to, and playing with each baby on a one-to-one basis through-out the day. Staff will respond to, acknowledge, and expand on cues coming from the child. (i.e.; “I see you kicking your feet and reaching for the mobile. Look at your eyes watching the monkey.”) Staff will allow time for children to discover their likes and dislikes. (i. e., “I see from your face you don’t like peas, how about peaches?”) Staff will discuss what they see the children involved in, as well as allowing children the opportunity to feed themselves when the child is ready. (i.e. “Look at you trying to pick up the round Cheerio.”) This goal also includes allowing a trusted adult to help them calm with words and touch, along with self-soothing efforts such as finger-sucking or holding a comforting toy, sometimes with adult support. (i.e. “Shhh, it’s okay. Don’t cry. I am going to pick you up. Let’s go change your diaper.”)

Toddlers are encouraged in pro-social behaviors such as turn taking, cooperating, helping, and talking to solve problems. Staff assist children to identify and effectively deal with their emotions. (i.e., “I know it makes you sad when Momma leaves, it’s okay to cry. Do you want to go watch out the window for her car to drive away?”) Staff expectations of children’s social behavior are developmentally appropriate. For example, a variety of similar equipment is available so toddlers are not forced to share too often. Adults discuss alternative solutions with children to help them see the consequences of behavior. (i.e., “When you hit Stephanie, it makes her sad. I am sad too because she doesn’t feel safe. May I show you a soft touch.”?) Child-to-child interactions are encouraged with assistance and modeling. Staff will interpret actions of a child to other children to help them get along in the group. “I am so sorry your fingers got stepped on. May I kiss them? Stephanie didn’t mean to. It was an accident. Stephanie is sorry, see her face, she is looking at you to see if you are okay. Stephanie, do you want to see if Giovanni is okay? Giovanni can Stephanie rub your back?”) Children are encouraged to talk about feelings and ideas instead of solving problems with force. (i.e., “Giovanni, this is a soft touch, can you show Miss Jane a soft touch?”) Space is created that allows time for small groups of children to build blocks together or enjoy dramatic play. Opportunities are created for children to take turns in order to practice the idea of sharing, helping each other, and expressing concern for each other. As they near 18 months, they begin to lose some control and may tantrum when distressed, this includes trying to control their actions, perhaps by them saying “No, no” as they throw toys. Toddlers may take a blanket to a quiet area and rest when distressed. They will often seek a familiar adult for comfort.

Goal 3: All children will develop healthy, positive alternatives for expressing emotions.

Expectant Families will receive information about the importance of children hearing words that describe emotions. For example saying, “I see your smile. Are you happy?” “Oh look at those tears, don’t be sad.”

Infants will be encouraged to develop social skills when they are held, patted, and touched softly. Caregivers will make eye contact with them and talk about the exact emotions the child is exhibiting. (i.e., “I know you are sad when Momma leaves. We will play today, and I will change you when you need me to, and I will feed you when you are hungry. It will be a happy day.”) Positive, responsive, respectful relationships are created between the infants and their caregivers.

For Older Infants, this includes identifying and effectively dealing with their emotions. Overall atmosphere of the group is pleasant most of the time. Staff will encourage children to express a variety of emotions, especially being happy and sad. Staff acknowledge, model, and label for children expressions of feelings. Staff help children deal with anger, sadness, and frustration in constructive ways. Children are generally comfortable, relaxed, happy, and involved in play and other activities. Pictures, or staffs own facial expressions, can be shared and discussed. (i.e., “Can you show me a happy face like this? What does a sad face look like?”)

Toddlers will be encouraged to express a variety of emotions. Staff acknowledge, model, and label for children expressions of feelings. Staff help children deal with anger, sadness, and frustration in constructive ways. Staff will listen to and respond to children’s questions and requests. Children are generally comfortable, relaxed, happy, and involved in play and other activities. This goal also includes establishing at least one on-going, meaningful attachment relationship with an adult. It also includes understanding that others may have beliefs, intentions, and desires that differ from their own. (i.e., “I know that you would like to have the car, but Giovanni was playing with it. Don’t be frustrated; let’s go see if we can find another one like it.)

Goal 4: Children will begin to develop and demonstrate a positive sense of self, competence, and an identity that is rooted in their family and culture.

Expectant Families will be made aware of how important their family culture is for young children. Suggestions will be made for families to share pictures of important members of the collective family. Special songs and stories will be encouraged to be shared with babies.

For Infants, this includes showing interest in their bodies and the many different things they are able to do, such as watching and using their hands, moving with purpose, self-feeding finger foods as they are ready; and manipulating toys and materials effectively. They will move from sucking their hands to carefully watching them, and then trying to make things happen intentionally, like hitting or kicking things to continue to make a pleasing sight or sound to them. For this goal, the child prefers to be held by familiar people. When they crawl away they will look back visually, call, or gesture to ensure adult contact. They may act anxious around strangers. They may use a blanket or stuffed toy for security and reassurance. (i. e., trying to keep a “knee ride” going by bouncing to get the adult started again.)

For Toddlers this includes showing awareness of their own thoughts, feelings, and preferences as well as those of others (e.g., use words such as you, me, I, he, she, and mine); identifying themselves and using their own name when asked; identifying gender and other basic similarities and differences between themselves and others; Stretching their arms up to demonstrate they want to be picked up; wanting to take care of themselves; showing completed projects to an adult; and seeking help from an adult after trying something new or challenging. Staff will allow children to complete their own goal-directed activity and recognizing the child’s own accomplishments while learning the rules and values of their family and culture, such as being purposeful in their use of toys and materials, smiling or laughing as they move from crawling to walking, learning new words, demonstrating interest in other children (e.g., spontaneously hugging another child, calling another child “friend”), and showing care and cooperation (i. e., pat a child who is crying on the back, help put toys away). Culturally diverse items and pictures will be included in the classrooms. Caregivers will be encouraged to use puppets, flannel graph stories, books, props, and songs to help children understand differences and similarities.

Sources: Office of Head Start National Resource Center; Creative Curriculum and Teaching Strategies Gold; Early Childhood Council, Early Head Start of the San Luis Valley School Readiness Goals; Colorado Department of Education, Quality Standards for Early Childhood Care and Education Services