Socio-Emotional Development

Published: June 23, 2008
Topical Summaries

Head Start has been helping young children develop social competence since its inception in 1965. Social-emotional development in young children is important because it provides a basis for life-long learning. Social competence is also related to academic success and it helps to prevent future social and behavioral difficulties.

Children demonstrating social competence show progress in expressing feelings, needs, and opinions in difficult situations without hurting themselves or others; understanding how their actions affect others; accepting consequences of their actions; being comfortable interacting with a group of familiar adults; developing friendships with peers; and expressing empathy for others.

Researchers at the ninth conference studied various methods to facilitate the development of social and emotional competence in children. Areas of research explored included testing of various interventions with parents, teachers, and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; determining predictors of social competence; highlighting the value of play; and promoting infant mental health.

Head Start's 9th National Research Conference