Social and Emotional Development

Why Do We Emphasize Social and Emotional Development?

Each person, with all his or her special and unique qualities, develops in a social context. Knowledge is constructed through social interactions. Knowledge can be and is: cognitive, emotional and social. We all construct our world by means of social interactions with people and things. We bring our private worlds to the social arena, and it is the constant construction and reconstruction of our private and public world that results. This construction is dynamic and open-ended. Encounters with new ideas cause us to change our construction of knowledge. Our changes reverberate and cause others to change. This influence is often compared to throwing a pebble into still water, with increasingly larger reverberations in the water. However, one of our teachers suggested it is more like throwing a handful of gravel into still water. Each individual pebble causes innumerable actions, reactions, and interactions.

Because we at NCCL understand the world as socially constructed, we are aware of the social environment. Although we, like all people and institutions, operate under many implicit assumptions, we are as explicit as we can be about social assumptions. We are purposeful about the arrangement of our environment, objects in our environment, what we do, what we say and how we say it. As children develop we as teachers try to both scaffold that development, guide the child, and provide learning experiences that lie within the area of challenge for the child. But it flows both ways, we are changed as we teach by those we teach.

A new study reported in the American Journal of Public Health shows that when children learn to interact effectively with their peers and control their emotions, it can have an enormous impact on how their adult lives take shape. And according to the study, kids should be spending more time on these skills in school.

Read more about how we foster social-emotional growth: