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Can I add If I'm Mad?

Written By: Hatch Experts Team

Publish Date: Jun 5, 2013

The impact of social and emotional skill development on transition into Kindergarten

Little Boy Mad about Math If a child doesn't know how to read, swim, multiply or divide, we teach.

But what if a child doesn't know how to perceive or regulate emotions, listen and pay attention, or cooperate and participate with peers?

Research demonstrates that social and emotional skills facilitate engagement in learning that impacts cognitive growth and academic achievement. These skills facilitate positive peer relationships which is a key developmental milestone. Both, in turn, impact adjustment as children transition from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) indicates one's primary reasoning ability, generally recognized as intellectual or cognitive skills. Emotional Intelligence (EI) represents one's ability to use emotions to help solve problems and live a more effective life, generally recognized as social and emotional skills. EI combines feeling, thinking and decision-making functions. It is the head working with the heart. Cognition and emotion are not opposing qualities and one is not more important than the other. What is important is one's ability to successfully manage both.

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Social Development results in an understanding and ability to manage one's self in group situations. Emotional Development results in an understanding and ability to manage one's feelings and emotions.

Early social and emotional functioning and skills influence a child's readiness to transition from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten as much as cognitive skills. Children who fail to gain these competencies in early childhood more often experience learning problems and academic delays when they transition to kindergarten. They are then at greater risk for peer rejection, school failure, substance use, depression and criminal activity in their adolescent years.

These intangible skills have always been more difficult than cognitive skills to develop, monitor and quantify. We need to focus on teaching children what to do in place of challenging behaviors. Educators face the challenge of identifying the best ways to effectively teach or intervene to promote skill growth in this area and how to track progress over time so that developmental assessment isn't based on isolated incidents or observations.

How have you seen social and emotional skills impact learning? What behaviors do you think should be included in social emotional skill monitoring?


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