What is Social and Emotional Development?

Shadie Grove Tutoring exists to help students study, complete their work, and improve in their classes. But that’s only the tip of the educational iceburg! We really exist to provide students with the skills and tools they need to ultimately carry themselves successfully through school.

As adults, whether we work with children, have our own children, or just interact with children every once and a while- we must not forget the experience of the child. In other words, we need to consider not only their abilities in reading, writing, science, and arithmetic, but also their social and emotional development.

Have you heard of social-emotional development? 

If you haven’t, don’t panic. The term is pretty self-explanatory to some degree. It involves thinking about the social components of the child, as well as emotional ones, right?

But what does that really mean?

To begin, most discussions of social-emotional development happen in reference to kids at the kindergarten and earlier elementary levels. This is because children at these early ages are experiencing the school environment (and all that comes with it) for the very first time. Children are entering into a very stimulating environment not just as children, but as students. First, they are suddenly meeting many other peers (who are all going through the same transition). They are also under the authority of multiple adults (outside of that of a parent or guardian). And finally, they are transitioning to a new (and ever-changing) level of cognitive demand across a number of different subjects. That’s quite a lot!

This is where social-emotional development comes in. Beyond the academic demands placed on students entering school, there are many intricate social and emotional expectations as well.

Studies have shown that, typically, a student with social and emotional readiness for school is (1) confident in interactions with their peers (2) able to express and communicate their ranging emotions in an age-appropriate manner (3) able to persist in solving problems, and (4) able to concentrate on tasks at hand. Students with healthy social and emotional capacities are more likely to succeed in school and, eventually, in their future work place (Peth-Pierce, 2000).

Children need significant adult guidance in their social and emotional development. That’s where we as parents, teachers, tutors, babysitters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, therapists come in. The more aware we are of what social and emotional development is as adults, the better we can be in helping children establish a healthy sense of social and emotional awareness. Doing so from the earliest stages of life can help set them up for ultimate success in their futures. And that’s really what it’s all about in the end, right?


Sadie Keller

Peth-Pierce, R. (2000). A good beginning: Sending America’s children to school with the social and emotional competence they need to succeed. Retrieved from https://eric-ed-gov.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/?id=ED445810


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