Social and emotional development

Children learn best when they are comfortable in their environment. When children feel comfortable, they can relax in their surroundings and concentrate on the lessons being taught.


There are many specific social and emotional skills that children must possess to be comfortable at school, including:

  • Separating easily from parents.
  • Sharing materials and taking turns.
  • Helping others.
  • Demonstrating empathy and caring.
  • Respecting people and their personal materials.
  • Staying focused and on task during a lesson.
  • Complying calmly with directions from authority figures.
  • Attempting to solve problems before asking others for help.

Verbally communicating needs and ideas accurately.


All children have a strong need to feel that they fit in and belong with their peer group. Because of its importance, children will strive to meet this need before turning their attention to other matters, such as learning.


Children are expected to develop social and emotionally during the preschool and kindergarten years. At the beginning of preschool, it is expected that children may initially be fearful about being away from their parents. However, after a few days, children should be able to play peacefully alongside other children. By kindergarten, children should be capable of separating easily from their parents, sharing materials with classmates, showing empathy for others’ feelings and attempting to solve problems without first seeking a teacher’s help.


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