Supportive, responsive relationships among adults and children are an essential component to promoting healthy social emotional development. High quality environments promote positive outcomes for all children. Systematic approaches to teaching social skills can have a preventive and remedial effect.Staff will support social emotional development through designing a physical environment, and a schedule of activities that builds trust; fosters independence; encourages self-control and respect for the feelings and rights of others; and supports each child’s home language, culture, and family composition.


  1. Staff will foster social competence and prevent challenging behaviors by promoting: (a) positive social skills; (b) emotional literacy; (c) positive self-esteem, and (d) provide a nurturing, safe environment.
    1. To facilitate Building Positive Relationships, staff will:
      1. Develop and support meaningful relationships with children and families
      2. Examine their personal, family, and cultural views of child’s challenging behavior
      3. Examine their own attitudes toward challenging behavior
    2. To facilitate Creating Supportive Environments, staff will:
      1. Develop schedules and routines
      2. Ensure smooth transitions
      3. Design activities to promote engagement
      4. Give directions that are clear to each child. Have realistic, appropriate expectations based on knowledge of early childhood development and each child’s strengths and needs.
      5. Establish and enforce clear rules, limits, and consequences for behavior
        1. Develop classroom rules with children when possible. Post visual cues of classroom rules and refer to them throughout the year. Review and update as needed
      6. Engage in ongoing monitoring and positive attention
      7. Use positive feedback and encouragement
    3. Staff will utilize Social Emotional Teaching Strategies:
      1. Encourage autonomy by providing children with appropriate choices and opportunities for leadership and responsibility
      2. Utilize effective environmental arrangements to encourage social interactions
      3. Use prompting and reinforcement of interactions effectively
      4. Provide instruction to aid in the development of social skills (ie. 2nd Step)
      5. Promote identification and labeling of emotions in self and others (ie. Empathy unit in 2nd Step)
      6. Model appropriate expressions and labeling of their own emotions and self-regulation throughout the course of the day
      7. Create a planned approach for problem solving processing within the classroom (ie. Solution kit, problem solving unit in 2nd Step)
    4. Individualized, Intensive Interventions will be developed as needed (see Addressing Challenging Behavior policy)
  2. Staff will have access to the following resources to promote Social Emotional Development
    1. Creative Curriculum
    2. Anti-Bias Curriculum
    3. 2nd Step
    4. Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports materials (ie. Tucker Turtle, Solution Kit)
    5. Persona Dolls

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45CFR Section 1304.21(a)(3) ,1304.21(c)(1), 1304.21(c)(2).It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997, December 12, 2000. August 2013

Updated July 6,1999. November 15, 2000. June 2008. August 2013
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