Social and emotional development is essential to children’s growth. Help your child succeed by guiding them in the following areas:
Relationships with others
Social interactions and relationships with other people begin early in life. Children need to develop an awareness of other people, learning over time that others have feelings. Playing and interacting with adults and children helps this skill develop. As children learn more they will want to play with their peers.
Learning about self (self-perception)
As children develop a sense of self they begin to understand who they are, what they can do, and how they contribute to their family, friends and eventually larger community. They learn their strengths and weaknesses and develop beliefs about their competence in specific areas.
Expression of feelings
Children will learn about emotions and feelings and how to appropriately express themselves. The ability to communicate emotions and feelings to others will help them develop positive relationships with others.
Making good choices and being able to control one’s behaviors are not easy. This has to be learned and takes time. Adults can help children by providing expectations and helping children calm down when they become overly excited.
Early education is important but how children learn is as important as what they learn. Children should be active and interact with toys and their environment. Sitting passively watching TV is not the most effective means to learn new information. It must be real for children to truly understand. Children learn through their senses, they need to see, touch, hear, taste and smell to really understand and create their own meaning. Learn more.
Did you know that children love to hear stories? Storytelling is a fantastic way to share with your child, memories about your childhood, and talk about special family moments together. Stories are ways to keep your culture alive! Talk about your family traditions and how these experiences affect who we are. They would love to hear those fascinating stories you heard from your parents or grandparents.
Support and engage your child to share his favorite story or to use his imagination to create new stories. They will enjoy in telling the story!
It is also fun to pull out your family photo albums to share moments and retell stories and just laugh. As an activity:
This will stimulate his desire to know how we all came to be in “this family” and how he fits in this amazing family! You will agree that these are some fun way of nurturing bonding through sharing family times and strengthening your family values.
Most values are formed during childhood. Under the influence of parents, extended family members and teachers, the child picks up a sense of what is right and wrong, good and bad. As a child matures and has experiences outside, he may recognize other values.
Know that as your child’s parents, you have a remarkable and powerful influence in his life. Make everyday count!
Some other activities to cultivate your child’s growth in values are:
During the holiday celebrations, teach him to be open minded, regarding some multicultural traditions; explain and teach him about cultural differences. For example:
There are many things you can do with your child to help him or her learn to relate with others, express their feelings, and understand who they are.
Play is the vehicle through which children maximize their learning. When children interact with their environment and are exposed to new sights, sounds, feelings, and experiences they are able to ask questions, form opinions and create new knowledge.
Our community offers a variety of meaningful and fun learning opportunities for you and children. Here’s a few ideas for you and your child.
Storytime at the Library
Storytime at the library introduces children to new experiences and fosters a lifelong enjoyment of books and literature. Library staff present a variety of stories and picture book art as well as songs, fingerplays, and other activities to enrich the literature experience. Additional storytime programs are offered for toddlers accompanied by a parent, for school age children, and for whole families, but the Virginia Beach Public Library's core storytime program is planned for children, ages 3 to 5 years old. Storytime is an interactive program where children learn to participate in a group setting away from their parents. Check out storytime at a Virginia Beach Public Library near you! For more information, visit the Virginia Beach Public Library's web site.
Preschool Opportunities with Parks and Recreation
Our supervised environment is a fun, safe place! Our preschool programs are designed to develop your child's creativity, imagination and self-expression. For more information, visit Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation's web site.
Toddler Tuesdays , Ages 3 - 5, at the Virginia Aquarium
Every Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Marsh Pavilion
Toddlers will enjoy a song and story on a different animal each week. Afterward, join us as we go in search of that animal in the Aquarium. Programs are free with paid Aquarium admission and last approximately a half hour. No reservations are necessary. For more information, visit the Virginia Aquarium's web site.
Pre-K Art Days at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia
First and third Friday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m.
Bring your little ones for an art adventure at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia! Kids ages 3-5 learn about the elements of art through storytelling, gallery tours, hands-on art activities and creative movement exercises. Early childhood specialists lead students and parents through a one-hour program designed to teach children basic art lessons. Registration deadline is one week prior to program date. Cost is $5 per parent/child team. For more information, visit the Pre-K Art Days program listings on the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia's web site.
World of Wonders at the Norfolk Botanical Garden
World of Wonders (WOW) is a three-acre garden dedicated to families and children. Located in the heart of Norfolk Botanical Garden, WOW brings the world of plants to our back door, literally creating a museum without walls. This garden is guided by the philosophy that children will thrive and learn in their very own space dedicated to them. The goal of the garden is to encourage children to explore the connections between plants, international cultures and the environment, using their natural curiosity and playful instincts. For more information, visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden's web site.
Available in all Virginia Beach Public Libraries, the Parent Resource Collection is a special group of materials on parenting and childcare for families, childcare providers, and early childhood educators. Library staff can assist you in locating information on a board variety of topics within the collection from pregnancy through adolescents. You will find books on nutrition, raising healthy children, toilet training, exercise, sleeping, activities and games to play, literacy, discipline, bullying and more. Located within one easy-to-find place in the library, the collection will provide answers to the many questions we all have about raising children and helping them develop to be the best person they can be in life.
I recently listened in on a webinar featuring Dr. Maurice Elias of Rutgers University. The topic of his discussion was "Social-Emotional Learning & Early Childhood Education Program Culture." Dr. Elias had some excellent insight into the significance of what he refers to as social-emotional and character development (SECD). This refers to the social and emotional competencies that are imperative to a child’s success in school and in life. These skills lay a foundation upon which children can better absorb the academic knowledge they need to succeed in school.
Theodore Roosevelt stated that "to educate someone in mind instead of morals is to create a menace to society." SECD skills include:
These life skills ultimately mediate academic, civic and workplace success. This is not to fall solely into the responsibility of educators but also to parents and families. YOU are your child's first teacher! There are so many practical things parents and educators can do to facilitate healthy SECD of children using "A, B and the three C’s":
How can childcare centers incorporate social-emotional character development in academics?
SECD is so critical to the development of the whole child. The skills and competencies that children learn early determine their interactions, relationships and character personally, professionally and as a valuable global citizen. "True academic and life success integrates the intellectual, emotional and social facets of learning. These are inextricably interconnected."
Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, P.p., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students' Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development. (Available at www.casel.org).
Hankin, Vered, Omer, Devorah, Elias, Maurice, & Raviv, Amiram (2012). Talking Treasure: Stories to Help Build Emotional Intelligence and Resilience in Young Children. Champaign, IL: Research Press Publishers. M. Berkowitz & M. Bier (2006). What Works in Character Education. Washington, DC: Character Education Partnership. (Available at www.characterandcitizenship.org).
Zins, Joseph, Weissberg, Roger, Wang, Margaret & Walberg, Herbert J. (Eds.) (2004). Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say? New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
: Bringing together City, Schools, and the Community for
a common mission.
GrowSmart’s mission is to promote and improve the
healthy development, school readiness, and reading
proficiency of young children, ages 0-8, in Virginia
This site was designed to provide information and resources for Virginia Beach parents, caregivers,and teachers of young children, ages 0-8.
The site is also intended for our community stakeholders who wish to find out more about the City of Virginia Beach’s early learning efforts and how you can get involved.
Address: 4525 Main Street Suite 700 Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Phone: (757) 385-0144
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| The City of Virginia Beach