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Module 2

Module Script
Social Emotional Teaching Strategies

Learner Objectives

Suggested Agenda

I. Introduction (15 min.)

II. Identifying the “Teachable Moments” (15 min.)

III. Positive Relationships as an Essential Foundation (10 min.)

IV. Friendship Skills (120 min.)

V. Emotional Literacy (30 min.)

VI. Controlling Anger and Impulse (30 min.)

VII. Problem Solving (30 min.)

VIII. Dealing with Common Peer Problems (15 min.) (Teasing, Bullying, etc.)

Materials Needed

I. Introduction (15 minutes)

Introduce Module (Slide 1).

A. Share Agenda (Slide 2) and give Handout 2.1 (PowerPoint Slides). Go over the agenda with participants.

II. Identifying the "Teachable Moments" (15 Minutes)

A. Show Slide 8 (Identifying the Teachable Moments).

B. Describe a typical challenging behavior as it happens in the classroom or child care. For example, a boy is playing with blocks and doing fine. More children come to the block area, and the boy and another child want the same block. When the other child grabs the block, the boy hits the child and takes the block away (red arrow).

III. Positive Relationships as an Essential Foundation (10 Minutes)

A. Show Slide 9. Reiterate that teaching social skills requires a solid foundation of a positive relationship between the teacher and child.

B. Present the metaphor, adopted from the work of Carolyn Webster-Stratton, of a “piggy bank” to illustrate “making deposits” as a way of building positive relationships (Webster-Stratton, 1990).

C. Ask participants to recall the strategies they learned in the prior workshop.

D. Quickly recap some of the strategies, emphasizing the power of play in building positive relationships. (e.g., talk about things children do at home during play, actively engage in children’s play, participate as a play partner, sit at children’s level, joke and laugh with children, play on their level, spend time with children doing what they love to do).

E. Provide participants with Handout 2.2 (“Building Positive Relationships with Young Children” Article).

IV. Friendship Skills (120 Minutes)

(Handout 2.2) Provide participants with Handout 2.3 (“Friendship Skills” Article). Show Slide 10 (Friendship Skills).

A. What Behaviors Lead to Friendship? Show Slide 11.

Several discrete behaviors that young children engage in during play with each other are directly related to having friends (Tremblay et al., 1981). That is, children who do more of these behaviors are more likely to have friends. These specific behaviors include the following (please note that each slide is organized around strategies that teachers can use to promote the development of these specific behaviors—e.g., rationale, describing the behavior for children, demonstrating right and wrong ways, allowing opportunities to practice these skills and promoting these skills throughout the day):

B. Setting the Stage for Friendship. Show Slide 19. Prior to beginning instruction in friendly behavior, adult caregivers need to attend to five elements of the classroom or child care.

C. Strategies for Developing Friendships. Show Slide 20. Setting the stage is a necessary element of supporting children’s developing friendships. However, some children will require systematic teaching in order to develop the skills that lead to having friends. This instruction often includes modeling appropriate behavior and providing practice opportunities with feedback.

V. Emotional Literacy: Identifying Feelings in Self and Others (30 Minutes)

A. Enhancing Emotional Literacy

B. Identifying Emotions in Self and Others 1. Show Slides 34 to 37. Describe ways to teach young children how to recognize feelings in self and others by paying attention to facial and body cues, by listening to how someone sounds, and by asking someone how they are feeling.

C. Emotional Regulation

D. Empathy

VI. Controlling Anger and Impulse

A. Recognizing Anger in Self and Others

B. The “Turtle Technique”

VII. Problem Solving (30 Minutes)

A. Recognizing When You Have a Problem

B. Learning the Problem-Solving Steps

C. Supporting Young Children with Problem Solving in the Moment (show Slide 58). Adult caregivers can keep in mind five steps as they assist young children in the problem-solving process: (1) anticipate problems, (2) seek proximity, (3) support, (4) encourage, and (5) promote.

VIII Dealing with Common Peer Problems (15 Minutes)

A. Show Slide 59. Discuss how all children will most likely be faced with teasing or bullying some time in their young lives. Teaching children alternative responses to these common peer problems can help them when they are in tough spots.

B. Discuss alternative responses to being teased and ask how the participants might teach these skills to young children (neutral times; puppets to bring in situations that have been occurring in the classroom, on the bus, or on the playground; model the skill; have children engage in guided practice; cue children to use strategy when situations arise). (video clip 2.5) (video clip 2.6)

C. Show video clip 2.7 (Teasing Shield) and discuss what strategies the teacher used. How could it have been more effective?

D. Show Slide 60 (Key Points). Review the key points with participants and ask whether they have any questions.

Provide participants with Handout 2.10 (Activity Matrix). Ask participants to identify times during the day during which they could embed social skills learning opportunities. Challenge participants to identify 30 social-emotional learning opportunities a day.

Show Slide 61. Describe the “Teaching Pyramid” and highlight the proportion of time spent in each section. Note that the smallest section relates to intensive, individualized interventions.

Video Credits Educational Productions,


Elias, M. J., & Clabby, J. F. (1989). Social decision making skills: A curriculum guide for the elementary grades. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

Guralnick, M. J. (1990). Social competence and early intervention. Journal of Early Intervention, 14(1), 3-14.

Joseph, G. E., & Strain, P. S. (2002a). Enhancing emotional vocabulary in young children. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Joseph, G. E., & Strain, P. S. (2002b). Helping young children control anger and handle disappointment. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Kusche, C. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (1994). The PATHS curriculum. Seattle, WA: Developmental Research and Programs.

McConnell, S. R., McEvoy, M. A., & Odom, S. L. (1992). Implementation of social competence interventions in early childhood special education classes: Current practices and future directions. In S. L. Odom, S. R. McConnell, & M. A. McEvoy (Eds.), Social competence of young children with disabilities (pp. 277-306). Baltimore: Brookes.

Schneider, M. R. (1974). Turtle technique in the classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children, 7(1), 21-24.

Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1980). Interpersonal problem solving as a mediator of behavioral adjustment in preschool and kindergarten children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 1, 29-44.

Shure, M. B., & Spivack, G. (1982). Interpersonal problem solving in young children: A cognitive approach to prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10(3), 341-356.

Tremblay, A., Strain, P. S., Hendrickson, J. M., & Shores, R. E. (1981). Social interactions of normally developing preschool children: Using normative data for subject and target behavior selection. Behavior Modification, 5(2), 237-253.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). The teachers and children videotape series: Dina dinosaur school. Seattle, WA: The Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children’s social and emotional competence. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 93-109.   

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This material was developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (Cooperative Agreement N. PHS 90YD0119). The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial projects, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. You may reproduce this material for training and information purposes.

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