July 21, 2015
According to recent research, "kindergartners who share, cooperate and are helpful, are more likely to have a college degree and a job twenty years later than children who lack those social skills." In addition, specific social-emotional skills learned in early childhood decrease the risk of substance abuse and criminal activity. In other words, there is social economic value to teaching social-emotional skills to young children.
The same skills that lead to greater success in life, also help children do better in school. The research study tracked individuals for twenty years to confirm the correlation between social skill development in early childhood, success in school, and subsequent success in life. What does this suggest as far as the focus of early childhood education?
Paying attention to social skill development and helping children with weak skills learn new behaviors (while they are young) pays off. These are the eight specific skills researchers evaluated:
It turns out that these skills are paramount and they do not include whether or not a child can read or write. When seeking a program for your young child, be sure to inquire about social skill development. Ask if teachers allow children time to practice skill development. Do they identify weak social skills and work with parents to help children learn new behaviors while they are young?
If this is what research and some might say common sense, tell us leads to success; why is there such a gap between common sense and common practice?