Monthly Archives

November 2017

Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies

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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is one of those phrases that gets mentioned a lot in Early Childhood Education, but not everyone knows exactly what it means or involves. For today’s post we are going to unpack this concept and explain why SEL is an important aspect of childhood development.

Firstly, it is important to begin with a definition. Social and emotional learning (SEL) “involves the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” (CASEL, 2013, full source at bottom).

SEL can be broken down into five core competencies, which can be understood as five areas within programming that are to be focused on. These competencies are cognitive, affective (mood, emotionality), and behavioural in nature. The core competencies are

  1. Self-awareness: the ability to reflect inward and recognize one’s own emotional state or train of thought.
  2. Self-management: this concept is also sometimes referred to as self-regulation. It is the ability to regulate and modify or manage one’s emotion, and behaviours in stress inducing situations. This also involves self-motivation and goal setting patterns.
  3. Social awareness: this refers to sympathy and empathy. Social awareness means be able to understand other people’s perspectives and emotional states, even if they are different from your own.
  4. Relationship skills: this is the set of skills associated with maintenance of long term and healthy relationships. These skills include communication, cooperation, and constructive problem solving.
  5. Responsible decision-making: This involves making good choices in behaviour and social interaction based on the other skills acquired through social emotional learning. Basically, responsible decision-making brings everything together into an observable result.

When SEL is promoted in the learning environment, with focus on these five core competencies, research shows that certain outcomes can be expected. Specifically, those outcomes include:

  • Improved attitudes about self, others, and school
  • Positive social behaviour
  • Fewer behavioural problems
  • Less emotional turmoil
  • Academic success

This information, including the above photo was adapted from (source): 2013 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs, Preschool and Elementary School Edition. Link to website:


Reggio Emilia Approach

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At Parkland Players we follow the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. We noticed, that it has been awhile since we shared some information regarding Reggio Emilia. So today we are posting this infographic from This post shares a summary of the key aspects of Reggio Emilia which include:

  • the view of the child
  • the view of the parents
  • the role of educators
  • the importance of community

Give the graphic a read. More information regarding Reggio Emilia Approach to come in the following weeks! Stay tuned.

Source: KLA


Remembrance Day Poppy Collages

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Remembrance Day is coming up this weekend. It is important to teach children the meaning of Remembrance Day. The poppy is a great way for children to learn about and experience the symbolism of this occasion. And so today we are sharing this poppy craft with the goal of learning more about the meaning of peace and the importance of the poppy.


  1. Black construction paper
  2. Markers, pencil crayons, crayons, paint, etc.
  3. White paper


  • Decided what artistic method you want to use (markers, pencil crayons, etc.)
  • Talk about Remembrance Day and the poppy. Talk about the symbolism of this day and this image.
  • Talk about how the poppy is a four-sided flower.
  • From here you have two options depending on the size of your group. From here you can have each child design one corner of the poppy that takes up the entire piece of 8.5×11 paper, or you can have each child design a whole paper and then cut it into 4 pieces.
  • Either way, once the poppy images are complete mount them on black construction paper
  • Put the corners together in sets of 4 to make complete poppies with a collage effect.
  • You can include a discussion of how you had to work together to create the poppies and peace in the world is also a collaborative effort, but when everyone does their part, it can be a wonderful thing.
  • Optional: cut out some white paper doves to put at the centre of each poppy.

Guidance and Safety Considerations

  • The content of Remembrance Day is of a sensitive nature. Be sure to be aware of any emotional responses children have to this topic.

Source: Pinterest


Childcare in the News: “Magic 8” Preschool Practices

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Today we are sharing an article about some recent research into early childhood education. Specifically, this study out of Vanderbilt examined current inefficiencies common among preschool programs and came up with a list of solutions for making early childhood education more effective and beneficial for both children and educators. Their so-called “Magic 8” suggestions are as follows:

  1. Reducing transition times
  2. Increasing the quality of instruction
  3. Creating a more positive emotional climate
  4. Teachers listening more to children
  5. Providing more sequential activities
  6. Fostering social learning
  7. Fostering higher levels of child involvement
  8. Creating more math opportunities

Now although some of these suggestions appear fairly straightforward and are practices that are often incorporated in preschool programs, it is interesting to see them validated as important to success in early childhood education programming.

For more details regarding the research visit the source site: Magic 8 Preschool Practices