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Demo social-emotional learning for early childhood development

In this step, we will think about how we can incorporate some of these ideas into interactions with our own child or students!

Now that we have seen how social emotional learning and learning through play might look for babies and for toddlers, let’s think about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your interactions with your own child or students!

We really encourage you to give the activities a go. We guarantee that you are doing a lot more than you think!

Exercise: Pulling faces

Using a mirror or your computer’s webcam, try out making faces for these emotions: happy, sad, angry, disgusted, scared, surprise.

  • Can you exaggerate these faces?
  • What tone of voice would you use to accompany each of these expressions if you were reading a story to a child?

If you have a young baby, you can try this out with them! Find a time when you can sit quietly together and practise pulling faces. Watch how your baby will imitate!

  • Are there any expressions that your baby finds easier to copy?
  • Are there any expressions that they seem to enjoy copying more?

Try experimenting with exaggerating your tone of voice and see if your baby starts to make similar noises too!

Execise: Playful book-sharing

Let your child choose a book, settle down and get comfy! Let your child flick through the book as they like, it’s okay if they don’t want to work through the book ‘in order’, or if they want to return to certain pages.

While you’re looking at the pictures and characters, try talking to your child about how the characters might be feeling and why.

  • Ask your toddler to find someone in the book who feels sad or happy.
  • Do they know why the character is feeling that way?
  • Can they show you how they look when they feel that emotion?

If you come across some more negative feelings in the book, you could talk to your child about them and expand on why the character might be feeling that way and how might be able to make them feel better.

For example, if you’re reading a book that explores starting pre-school or nursery and separation anxiety, the main character might be feeling sad and worried because they can’t see their caregiver. You can talk to your child about times that they might feel like this and about what might make the character feel better, how they might feel when they do see their caregiver again!

Maybe you could use some of their toys to act out the story together and let your child take the lead by acting out how a character might be feeling different emotions. If the character is sad, try helping them play at helping the character feel better.

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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

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