Social and Emotional Development

Young girl smiling

You are here

Social and emotional development is just as important to children's learning as their academic development. NAEYC's resources offer information about the latest research, ideas for classroom practice, and strategies to share with families.

Making Peace in Kindergarten

Read about one teacher's research and observations as she explores how to create a more peaceful and inclusive classroom.

Children working together as they care for a plant.

Spotlight on Young Children: Social and Emotional Development

Explore how teachers can use the opportunities embedded in their classroom practices, routines, and lessons to nurture healthy behaviors in children from birth through third grade. 

Young girls playing together with water.

Most Recent

Male teacher in a classroom at a desk
Blog
September 4, 2020

Addressing Social and Emotional Needs of Teachers and Parents

Through our virtual programming for both teachers and parents, our relationship-based approach that is already key to our programming was ramped up to identify, acknowledge, and attend to children’s emotions. 

Authored by

Authored by: Stephen P.  Zwolak
Members Only
Father and son saying goodbye outside of school
Blog
September 4, 2020

The Comfort of Familiar Routines

Young children find a goodbye ritual very comforting.  Families can make up a love ritual such as a secret handshake and a kiss. Reading books about separation such as The Kissing Hand can also provide comfort to children

Authored by

Authored by: Julia Luckenbill
Members Only
Mother and daughter hugging
Blog
September 4, 2020

Social Emotional Learning and Addressing Trauma

Social- emotional learning (SEL) is the foundation and heartbeat of the classroom. Students need to feel connected, safe, and secure, before we even begin to address academics. T

Authored by

Authored by: Monica Warren
Members Only
Mother and son sitting on a picnic table outside
Blog
September 4, 2020

Focusing on Social and Emotional Needs – 6 Programs Begin the New School Year

As child development programs re-open or begin virtual interactions, teachers and families will need to make enhanced, intentional, targeted efforts to ensure those relationships are meaningful and individualized to respond to each child’s specific needs.

Authored by

Authored by: Derry Koralek
Members Only
Educator measuring the distance between desk in classroom
Article
Young Children
September 1, 2020

Focus on Ethics. The Code and COVID-19

This Focus on Ethics column discusses some of the ethical issues the pandemic has created for teachers and administrators working in programs that serve young children.

Authored by

Authored by: Meir Muller, Angela C. Baum
Members Only
Teacher looking out the window
Article
Young Children
September 1, 2020

Supporting Teachers through Change

Here, you will read key excerpts of what they would share with teachers about supporting children and families as they adapt to the dramatic changes in daily routines and circumstances.
Members Only
Child plays with bubbles outside
Blog
July 15, 2020

Finding Threads of Inquiry

Teachers using an emergent inquiry curriculum are responsive to children, planning provocations around questions they have developed that challenge the children toward the edges of their own understandings.

Authored by

Authored by: Jane Tingle Broderick, Seong Bock Hong
Members Only
woman sitting at the computer typing on a laptop
Article
Teaching Young Children
August 1, 2020

A Letter to Children During the Pandemic

No one in the world has ever done what we are all doing right now. No one ever thought we would have to try being teachers to 4-year-olds without being in the same room together.

Authored by

Authored by: Kelly Fox
Members Only
Classroom sitting in a circle during storytime
Article
Teaching Young Children
April 1, 2018

محادثات مع الأطفال! الأسئلة ال تي تحفّز المحادثات وتعمّق الفهم Conversations with Children! Questions that Spark Conversations and Deepen Understanding

This is the first article in a series about asking questions that foster rich conversations. Visiting a variety of preschool settings, we’ll consider the different types of questions teachers ask and listen to children’s responses.

Authored by

Authored by: Janis Strasser
Members Only
children listen attentively to teacher in class
Article
Young Children
June 16, 2020

Words Matter: Moving from Trauma-Informed to Asset-Informed Care

While it is critical that educators are able to recognize and acknowledge children's and families' painful experiences, this work needs to expand beyond the focus on trauma-laden concepts to highlight and build on children's and families' assets.

Authored by

Authored by: Ellen Galinsky
Members Only
A teacher and student having an after class discussion
Article
Young Children
June 16, 2020

Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Early Childhood

When hearing the words suspension and expulsion, most people do not think about children 5 and under. However, young children in state-funded preschool settings are expelled at three times the rate of K–12 students, as private school students.

Authored by

Authored by: Sarah C. Wymer, Amanda P. Williford, Ann S. Lhospital
Members Only
a group of toddlers and parents clapping together
Article
Young Children
June 16, 2020

Supporting Anxious Children in the Preschool Classroom

For preschool-age children, evidence of anxiousness in the classroom includes general distress, clinginess, excessive worry, separation fears, somatic complaints, sleep difficulties, and repetitive and perfectionistic behaviors

Authored by

Authored by: Sierra L. Brown, Allison McCobin, Stephanie Easley, Kara E. McGoey
Members Only