If we want children who are capable of living in harmony with others, empathetic and self-confident children, who cooperate with their peers to resolve conflicts and who know how to manage their emotions, Early Childhood Education must focus on socio-affective development. Stimulating emotional education and communication skills not only contributes to a more harmonious development, but also provides them with the tools they need to properly integrate into society.
WHAT IS SOCIO-AFFECTIVE DEVELOPMENT?
Socio-affective development in Early Childhood Education is the promotion of skills that allow the child to grow as a person and be social . On the one hand, it consists of teaching children to recognize and manage their emotions so that they can express them assertively. On the other hand, empathy to the needs of others, social skills so that they can relate to other children and adults in a satisfactory way and intrapersonal conflict resolution strategies are worked on.
For this, the different characteristics and stages of socio-affective development in childhood are taken into account. Babies, for example, have a very limited affective repertoire in the eyes of an adult, so that they experience basic emotions such as grief and satisfaction, expressing them mainly through crying and physical contact.
However, as they grow, their emotional repertoire becomes richer and they begin to experience more complex affective states, such as anger, shame, guilt or pride. From the second cycle of Infant and with the help of language, children begin to understand and use the rules that regulate emotional expression, they overcome the stage of egocentricity, which helps them to regulate their affective states and relate better with the the rest.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIO-AFFECTIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR CHILDREN
Socio-affective development is essential, both individually and socially. A child with adequate emotional development will become a self-confident person who is confident in his abilities , will have a solid self-esteem and will develop a level of self-control and a capacity for self-knowledge that will help him to cope with difficulties and achieve his goals in life.
On the other hand, the development of social skills will facilitate relationships with peers and adults . A child who learns from the basis of emotional education will be able to integrate more easily in groups, will develop communication and interaction skills that will allow him to defend his rights and points of view while respecting others and will be able to seek agreements or ask for help when I needed it.
All this translates into greater well-being and greater social integration, which will help them feel fulfilled inside and outside the classroom.
HOW TO PROMOTE SOCIO-AFFECTIVE DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION?
Emotions and feelings are present in the classroom at all times and not only influence children’s learning but also the relationship between students and the formation of their identity. Therefore, every action that is carried out with children is an opportunity to promote their social-emotional skills.
In the first years of life, play is one of the most important activities for socio-affective development because it encourages socialization and emotional expression in a playful way. Stories and puppet shows are also ideal activities to stimulate the development of basic social skills such as cooperation, problem solving, emotional expression, or tolerance for differences.
However, socio-affective development can also be fostered through the child’s daily routines with the rest of his classmates and at home. In fact, family collaboration is essential to create a coherent environment that provides children with the basic tools they need to be and coexist in today’s world.
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