Not everyone knows that social and emotional skills are fundamental to educational success. Parents are concerned if their children are anxious or have behaviour problems but they don’t often link this to educational success.
Social and emotional capability is crucial to school success. Without this children are at risk of being unable to transition successfully to school, of behaviour problems, of academic failure and of social problems, problems that often remain in adolescence and even adulthood.Read more
‘Is the grass green at night?’ ponders the four-year-old. The crawling toddler pulls himself up on the shelf to study the children’s photographs and reaches out for the photo of him. ‘That’s not fair’, says the three-year-old when one child takes all the red cars. The baby starts wriggling and kicking his feet excitedly when he sees mum arrive to pick him up.
These scenes show children’s brains at work. How educators respond to each child is crucial to brain development and lays the foundation for learning and success in later life.Read more
Brain research shows that relationships are the linchpin of early brain development. It is the ‘serve and return’ communication from birth on that strengthens the connections in the brain that lead to development of social skills, communication and learning skills. The serve and return idea has come from The Harvard Child Development Centre research team and is a way of thinking about early communication. The baby makes a signal, it might be a smile or a mouth movement or a cry or just a loving look. This is the serve. The adult responds by returning what the baby has done (except cry of course) saying to the baby, ‘I see you are wanting to talk with me’. This is the return. The baby responds again and so the ‘conversation’ continues. Or in the case of the cry the adult says something like, ‘I can see you are wanting to he held, fed, have a sleep etc.’ and responds to the baby’s signal.Read more
How is it that in a country as prosperous as Australia, one in five children are developmentally at risk by the time they start school?
What’s more, the problem is twice as great for disadvantaged groups.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds have a greater risk of poor health, social, emotional, cognitive and language problems that affect their educational progress, literacy, numeracy, and long-term social skills, employment prospects, health, adjustment and criminality.Read more