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Supporting Head Start staff to address children's social skills

Failure to promote preschoolers' social competence can lead to significant difficulties in social skills development, school readiness, and academic success. While early childhood professionals play a critical role in developing children's social and emotional skills, there is limited research available about the value teachers place on social skill instruction and the instructional strategies they use. Surveys and interviews were used to investigate the practices used by five Head Start (HS) programs to promote childrens' social and emotional skills. Results indicated that respondents: (a) identified peer interaction and friendship skills most often as important social skills to teach; (b) described using classwide and naturalistic social skill instruction strategies most frequently; and (c) described challenges to addressing children's social skill needs. Implications of these findings for preschool programs are discussed in terms of professional development to support teachers to implement evidence-based social skill methods. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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