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Strategies for Supporting Children's Developing Friendship Skills

by Elizabeth Kirby Fullerton, Gigi Morales David, and Nancy Winckler-Zuniga
May/June 2013
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/strategies-for-supporting-childrens-developing-friendship-skills/5021132/

A child’s ability to get along with ­others, also known as social competency, is a critical component of his or her overall development. A prerequisite for school readiness and academic success is a child’s ability to regulate his behavior, and make friends (Bodrova & Long, 2005). Socially competent children are more academically successful; poor social skills are a strong predicator of academic failure and adult maladaptation (Howes, et. al., 2003). Furthermore, children are more likely to succeed if they are able to play with, talk to, collaborate with, and negotiate with peers. Unlike traditional academic subjects (i.e., reading and math readiness) teachers lack specific training to facilitate social competency and may be unaware of strategies and activities to foster the development of social skills.

Providing teachers with a program designed to build their capacity to ­promote the development of social skills is particularly critical in programs based outside of the K-12 school system. When teachers in center-based programs are given an opportunity to develop a better understanding of social competence and the impact they can have in this process, they develop more confidence in promoting social competence; and both the teacher and the children in his care ­benefit.

Promoting Preschool Friendship

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