How do social and emotional care enhance child care?

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When it comes to early learning, usually language and math come to mind. However, social and emotional development are equally important in setting the foundation for how your child will learn in and interact with the world around him or her.

What is social and emotional development?

Social and emotional development a child’s ability to understand the feelings of others, control his or her own feelings and behaviors, get along with other children, and build relationships with adults.  It includes the child’s experience, expression and management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others.

How cognitive and social emotional development are interrelated
Your child’s social and emotional development will directly affect his ability to learn. Cognitive development is the title given to what most adults think of in early learning: information processing, language learning, and other aspects of brain development. Emotion and cognition work together, both effecting your child’s perception of situations and influencing his behavior. Together, emotion and cognition affect how your child acquires knowledge, makes decisions, and to what she pays attention.

Positive social and emotional development will help your child learn the skills needed to thrive in the academic world. Developing self-confidence will help your child believe she can succeed and motivate her to learn new information. This drive helps children to persist and try a task again if they don’t get it right the first time, or helps them feel comfortable seeking help if needed. Learning to cooperate and understand others’ feelings gives children the ability to work well in groups and form meaningful relationships. Developing self-control teaches children appropriate ways to express their emotions, such as anger, sorrow, or frustration. 

In a child’s earliest years his brain is like clay being shaped and molded by every experience he encounters. These experiences will affect your child’s long-term cognitive, emotional, and social outcomes. Research shows young children exhibiting healthy social, emotional, and behavioral regulation are more likely to have good academic performance in elementary school. This makes choosing the right child care provider imperative.

Social and emotional development at daycare.

Caregivers provide the foundation for infants’ social and emotional development. These special relationships guide the infant’s evolving sense of self and understanding of others. The bond infants share with their caregiver helps them in several ways. Consistent caregivers assure infants they are safe, help to alleviate their stress, aid with the regulation of emotion, provide social approval and encouragement.

As children age, close relationships with their caregivers are related to children’s self-esteem, emotional security, and growing understanding of the world around them. These interactions will influence children’s brain architecture, developing both their communication and social skills. Children learn best when they are supported by a teacher who is responsive and nurturing. In fact, responsive caregiving is a hallmark of quality care. A teacher who responds to children in a nurturing way allows children to feel safe and secure, fostering a trusting relationship while teaching appropriate responses. In addition to interactions, child care providers support your child’s social and emotional development by arranging the classroom in a manner that promotes collaboration, and planning and implementing a curriculum that encourages social exchanges and teaches emotions.

When watching your child’s teacher interact with him, look for a teacher who is

  • Modeling the skill for children such as demonstrating the appropriate communication strategy;
  • Talking about the skills during discussions with children or providing books that increase children’s understanding of social and emotional skills;
  • Acknowledging the efforts of children when they demonstrate a skill such as sharing, showing empathy or communicating a request; and
  • Taking time to reflect and review the skills by providing feedback and support to encourage children.

For more information on social and emotional development, check out this post on social and emotional intelligence in children’s formative years.

Visit to learn more about child care and development, search for a child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education. 

By ABC Quality Team at 23 Jan 2018, 11:00 AM