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Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum:
Socio-Emotional

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The social-emotional curriculum is an integral component of the preschool program. Teachers create an environment that supports the social and emotional growth of each child. The child is encouraged to trust her teachers and her peers while at the same time become self-reliant and autonomous. She is given opportunities to speak out and express herself in socially acceptable ways. The teachers value and support her ideas and feelings. During the course of her preschool and kindergarten time, the child grows in her social and emotional capacities.

As a beginning preschooler, the child learns to make choices for herself and learns ways to become part of a group. Separation from her parents is a significant element in gaining independence. The teachers become an important link in this transition away from home and parents as the child develops trust in adults other than her primary caregivers. As the child becomes increasingly independent, she is also learning the rules, routines, and expectations of the classroom. This includes waiting her turn, knowing the daily schedule, sitting in circle, raising her hand to speak, and walking in line. She begins to discover that there are natural and logical consequences if these expectations are not met.

The child also learns to take care of herself and the environment around her. Montessori believed that when given the proper models and the correct tools, every child could and should do for herself all that she is capable of doing. In the classroom, this manifests into being responsible for self-care, such as hand washing and dressing oneself, and care of the environment, such as sponging her table, mopping, sweeping, watering plants, and mirror washing. The child is also expected to exhibit "grace and courtesy." For example, she is encouraged to push in her chair when getting up from her table, walk while inside the classroom, put materials away when finished working with them, and say please and thank you when appropriate.

Making friends is an important social skill that the child begins to learn in preschool and all throughout her life. She learns how to share materials and practice give and take. When there is a conflict with a peer, she is given the tools to resolve those conflicts, at first with the guidance of a teacher and later, without the intervention of an adult. The teachers use a variety of methods such as role-playing and puppets to help the child identify the problem and find a solution that satisfies all involved. As she becomes an older preschooler and kindergartener, she learns the language of inclusion, which consists of inviting someone to play, asserting her interest in joining a group, and including others in a group game. She is also provided with many occasions to express her feelings and emotions. Teachers talk about their own feelings, read books about emotions, and model vocabulary for expressing them. In turn, the child learns to read facial and body expressions, talks about her feelings in terms of her own experiences and may make a book of feelings.

An essential aspect of the social-emotional curriculum is the acknowledgement of the child's need for control and the means that are given to her to express that need appropriately. She is learning skills and feeling competent when she is successful with the materials and activities. She takes various roles as both the leader and follower in games and play. The teacher also provides various jobs in the classroom to give the child opportunities to feel powerful.

As the child becomes proficient and confident in her skills and abilities, she becomes a leader to her peers and younger classmates. She models appropriate classroom behavior and teaches younger children various classroom activities. By becoming a responsible member of the community, she develops empathy, demonstrates caring behavior for others, and mediates in her peer's conflicts.

The social-emotional curriculum is a pervasive and underlying theme of the preschool program. The child develops a sense of trust and initiative within the context of her relationship with her teachers. Additionally, the teachers offer her activities that support her self-esteem and respect for others.











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