SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Good Social and Emotional Development Equals Early School Success

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Part of the framework for early school success is a child's social and emotional development. A positive self-concept, appropriate self-control, and awareness of interacting with others will help your child learn. Play is a great vehicle to build self-confidence and relationships.

Here are five easy ways to help your child practice and develop these crucial skills.

  • Set up “play-dates” with classmates or neighborhood children. In good weather make sure there is lots of outdoor play. If indoors, make sure it’s a “no electronics” time.
  • Encourage individual creative play by giving your child a few objects and let them create something. For example, paper plates, ribbon, brown paper bags, old buttons, crayons, glue, and scissors, etc.
  • Take 20-30 minutes to explore a park with a slide, swings, jungle gyms, etc. Observe how your child interacts with other children. If your child was shy, or too aggressive “role play” on the way home about what could have been done or said to interact differently.
  • Practice “conversation skills.” Model good speaking (eye contact, clear voice) and good listening (eye contact, nodding) so that your child learns good conversation consists of these two parts.
  • Teach responsibility with a small daily or weekly “job.” (Setting the table, putting objects in the recycling bin, separating darks and lights for the laundry, etc.)
Simple activities like these allow children to build confidence, take pride in accomplishments, and accept rules and routines in a learning environment.


#2 kim gellman 2010-04-25 16:35
These are good ideas and ones I will implement. In today's world of cellphones, computers and texting, I want my kids to learn "real time" skills and interacting with their peers. These are life lessons for sure.
#1 Susanne Toothaker 2010-04-21 00:16
What great advice!

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?