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Social Emotional Competence in Early Childhood Education workbook


Social Emotional Competence in
Early Childhood Education

An online course from The Education Hub

Here are the notes and reflections you did in part one of the course.

Before we get into our content about social and emotional competence. Think about what it means to you.

Notes and reflections from What is social and emotional competence?
Notes from The importance of social emotional competence for children’s development
Relate learning to practice

As we have seen in this part, social and emotional skills, as well as executive function or self-management skills, are essential to daily functioning and are the foundation on which many other skills and competencies are built.

Here are the notes and reflections you did in part two of the course.

Notes and reflections from Creating a positive social and emotional climate
Relate learning to practice

Have a look at pages 102-3 of He māpuna te tamaiti | Te Whāriki Online, and read through the sections on ‘Creating a supportive environment’. You will see several statements listed by the themes below .You’ll see that there is space to evaluate your practice as ‘emerging’, ‘partly in place’, and ‘embedded’ for each section. Note that before you can make an overall judgement for each section, is probably helpful to use a highlighter (or several highlighters) to indicate which parts of each indicator are emerging, partly in place, and embedded, as it is unlikely that you will have consistent scores for each part of each section. You may wish to make notes under the themes in the space below, with your evaluation.

Next think about how you might collect evidence to make judgements in relation to these statements. You might choose to intentionally observe practice over a morning or afternoon, looking for evidence of the practices listed. You might choose to hand out copies of the tools to different people in your setting – including leaders and managers, fellow teachers, teachers in other teams, and parents – and collect and collate their subjective impressions. Their experience of your setting is crucial information!

When you’ve collected some data and evaluated your progress against each of the indicators, use your results to determine which area of creating a positive social and emotional climate you would like to work on and improve.

Then make some plans of actions you will take to improve practice. For example, if you determine that the routines you use in your setting are not as consistent as they might be, and that you would like to focus in particular on co-constructing routines for particular activities, make a list of the action steps you need to take to achieve this.


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part three of the course.

Reflections on Supporting emotional learning in early childhood education

Self-awareness of your own emotional experience, needs, and preferences can help you to build stronger relationships with all children and better support their emerging social and emotional skills. Your own emotional awareness and recognition of your beliefs about emotional expression are really important in the creation of positive emotional climates. Use the following questions to reflect on your beliefs and attitudes to emotional expression, and your strategies for emotional regulation.

Relate learning to practice

This time we want you to devise ways to assess the emotion words that teachers and children use and understand.

You might undertake some focused observations, or structure opportunities for children and teachers to generate emotion words (identifying emotions in a book or drawing different emotional expressions, for example).

Create some simple resources (images or simply a list of key vocabulary) to display in your setting to prompt teachers to use the extended emotion vocabulary.


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part four of the course

Reflections on Scaffolding social skills in early childhood

Spend some time reflecting on your strengths, challenges, and preferences in regard to social interactions.

Reflections on social skills and learning about conflict
Apply learning to practice

To inquire into social conflicts at your early childhood setting set yourself up with an event-sampling observation sheet – this simply means being prepared with some ideas of what you want to observe and what you want to record about a conflict situation.

For example, you might decide you want to record:

  • the time and location of the conflict (especially if you think conflicts are more common at a certain time or in a particular place)
  • children’s names
  • the problem around which the conflict arose
  • children’s strategies or attempts to solve the problem (here you might record dialogue and actions)
  • teachers’ actions and responses

Event sampling means that, with this preparation in place, you engage in observation whenever a conflict event occurs. Collect as many conflict observations as you can in a week. Remember that a conflict situation may not necessarily involve loud words and physical aggression, and children may already be using strategies to mitigate potential conflicts.

Next, analyse the data you have collected. What are common causes of conflict to arise in your setting? What strategies are children using to attempt to resolve conflict? Are these strategies successful? What skills might need to be taught, and how might you plan to teach and reinforce this skill? If other teachers were present, you might consider teachers’ responses to the conflict event, and the impact of these responses.


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part five of the course

Notes from What is executive function?
Notes from The importance of self-regulation

Think back to the games described in the reading (Red Light, Purple Light, and the Sleeping Game) and think about how you might frame and present these games to children.

Notes and reflections from Supporting children’s self-management skills
Relate learning to practice

Use whichever of the games below are relevant to your centre to inquire into children’s executive function skills (inhibition/impulse control, working memory and cognitive flexibility) in your setting.

Inhibition/impulse control:

Working memory:

Cognitive flexibility:

Executive function:

After investigating children’s strengths and needs in relation to executive function, choose which area of executive function you would like to strengthen. Plan two additional games or activities to practise with children and build into your daily routines. You might find the resource guides on games and activities to strengthen executive function in infants and toddlers, and in children aged 3 – 5, in the Further Reading section, helpful here.


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part six of the course

Notes and reflections from Taking an inclusive and culturally responsive approach to working with neurodiverse children
Relate your learning to practice

To evaluate this child’s experience of the setting, you might observe them at different times, perhaps as they enter the setting and settle down to play, or at a key transition or group time.

Once you have gathered this data, consider what adjustments you might make to your environment, your expectations, or your practice to improve the social emotional climate for this child and other neurodivergent children.


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part seven of the course

Notes and reflection from Supporting children with challenging behaviour
Notes and reflections from responding to challenging behaviours
Notes and reflections on Targeted individualised support for specific challenging behaviours
Relate learning to practice

Using the ideas from the reading for this part, observe a child with challenging behaviour, and try to determine the function of the behaviour, as well as the contexts or environmental causes of the behaviour.

After your observation, try to develop some hunches about triggers, functions, and consequences of challenging behaviour, and determine your next steps. What further information do you need to confirm your hunches?


Here are the notes and reflections you did in part eight of the course

Relate your learning to practice

In Part 2, we asked you to inquire into the social and emotional climate of your setting, using the self-assessment tool from He māpuna te tamaiti. You might like to revisit this work, and the judgements you made about your strengths and weaknesses in regard to creating a positive social and emotional climate for children. 

We then want you to consider the other key components of a programme for social and emotional learning, and assess your strengths and weaknesses in regard to these. You might consider:

Learning about and managing emotions:

Social skills:

Executive function skills:


Challenging behaviour:

Next steps:

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