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Teaching how to deal with emotions

Social Emotional Learning

By: Marissa Palacios-Ontiveros, LMSW – MH Specialist and

Carmen Dorton – MH Assistant

Social and emotional learning is an important aspect that needs to be modeled to children at a young age. The earlier that children are exposed to social and emotional education, the earlier children will be able to learn and apply the skills. Social emotional learning is the teaching of how to deal with your emotions adequately on your own or with help from others in a constructive and proactive way.   

In order to teach these skills, an early childhood teacher needs to make sure that the environment is safe for all of the children. As part of building a safe and trustworthy environment, the teacher has to make sure that there is structure and a consistent routine in order to help children self-regulate.  

Some activities that can be included are:

  • Teaching social emotional songs, such as “My School Family” by Jean Hartman. This song helps build trustworthiness not only between the teacher, but also among the students. Here is a link to a video of the song:
  • Reading social and emotional books about feelings and asking open ended questions. Some books addressing social and emotional issues are:

           1. What a Tantrum by Mireille d’Allance

           2. The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum by Deborah Blumenthal

           3. When Sophie Gets Angry Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang

           4. I Hate Everything by Sue Graves

  • Setting clear expectations for children with natural consequences.
  • Creating a safe spot. This area will be a spot that the child can go to when they are feeling angry, sad, frustrated, or upset. It is a tool for the child to use to calm themselves down.

For additional information, please visit the following websites:
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Conscious Discipline