The Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning discusses how classroom interactions can enhance social development among preschoolers in their short brief “Using Environmental Strategies to Promote Positive Social Interactions.” They maintain that meaningful social development can occur amongst preschools peers when the children are not only given the opportunity to interact, but when their interaction is facilitated.
Among their recommendations is that the preschool classroom should feature learning centers that change in composition frequently, new toys that are introduced on a regular basis to encourage interactions that might not otherwise occur, and to keep children near peers who have already demonstrated social competence. In this way, children interact with others, learn principles like sharing, and model the positive behaviors of those who have already developed essential social skills.
This model emphasizes the role of childhood interaction in the development of social skills and does not address the role of adults beyond that of the teacher as a facilitator of these opportunities for interaction and a guide to reinforce positive behavior. However, it should be noted, again, that the role of the parent, while not studied, should not be discounted, nor should the role of the teacher as a positive role model—or a redirecting force when behavior needs to be corrected.
The theories studying how children develop social skills during the preschool years are myriad. Many look at the role of the preschool itself. Others examine peer interaction and still others look at the role of the parent in teaching social skills. What each agrees upon is that no child develops social skills in a vacuum. Rather, it is a complex process that requires the interaction of multiple individuals to reinforce proper social behavior. When reading up on childhood social development, it is important to remember that parents, educators and peers all play roles in a child’s development and none of them can substitute for the absence of another.
Article Source: www.preschoolplaybook.com