Being able to regulate emotion, engage in positive interactions with others, and manage one’s own behaviour and actions are crucial skills that impact on children’s learning success. Research finds the early childhood period critical for helping children to develop social and emotional competencies.
Social and emotional competence is multi-faceted and includes a range of skills and knowledge such as knowledge of emotions, emotional regulation, social skills, self-management and responsible decision-making which enable children to interact effectively with others and achieve positive outcomes.
Social and emotional competence is linked to significant long-term health and social outcomes such as improved school achievement, relationships, quality of life, wellbeing and happiness, and higher rates of employment. Without skills to manage their emotions and to engage in positive interactions with others, research suggests that children may experience greater peer rejection and social isolation, low self-esteem and motivation for learning, a decrease in achievement, and later mental health difficulties.
Substantial research evidence links social and emotional competencies to better outcomes for children in a range of areas, and there is also strong evidence that quality practices and effective interventions in early childhood can help children improve their social, emotional and self-management skills. Evaluations of specific programmes designed to support social and emotional learning show that promising improvements can be made in children’s social and emotional skill development, with children showing higher levels of emotion knowledge and social skills, and fewer behaviour problems.
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