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Importance of Social-Emotional Skills

Research has shown that early social-emotional skills are related to how socially, emotionally, academically and professionally skilled we are later in life. For example, having higher social-emotional skills prior to school age is associated with long-term:

  • Educational success, such as completing high school and even a university degree.

  • Career success, such as an increased likelihood of being employed and having job satisfaction.

  • Financial success, such as being financially independent and reduced 'bad debt'.

  • Relationship success, such as having long-term fulfilling relationships with friends and families.

  • Improved physical and mental health.

  • Reduced likelihood of welfare dependence, homelessness, drug abuse and criminality.​

Important Emotional Skills


Through their freedoms, interactions and exploration, the Montessori child grows to possess:

  • Self-awareness, self-regulation and responsible decision-making:

    • Recognising emotions. 

    • Understanding the links between emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

    • Managing and controlling emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

    • The ability to make good choices about your behaviour and interactions with others.

  • Self-respect and self-esteem:

    • Hold themselves in high regard and believe they are worthy of being treated well.

    • Confidence in their own abilities and skills

  • Autonomy and a sense of agency:

    • The ability to be self-reliant and self-governed.

    • The ability to make choices and decisions to influence events and to have an impact on the world.

    • *This gives a sense of pride, self-worth and control.

  • Self-motivation, self-evaluation and self-discipline:

    • The initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without any external influence. The child is driven by their own desires and ambitions. 

    • Children are able to identify their strengths, identify where they need to improve and set goals.

    • *Plays an essential role in allowing children to become active agents in their own development. More learning occurs and it is more rewarding.

  • Patience, perseverance and resilience:​

    • Accept and tolerate adversity without becoming annoyed or anxious​.

    • Continue in the face of adversity.

    • Recover quickly from adversity.

Important Social Skills

Important social skills for the 3-6 year old child:

  • Use of manners

  • Communication skills

  • Kindness and positive interactions

  • Respecting and empathising with others

  • Accepting diversity and differences of opinion

  • Following directions

  • Asking for help and helping others

  • Participating, cooperating, sharing and turn-taking

  • Conflict resolution including negotiating and compromising

  • Being assertive

  • Acknowledging mistakes 

  • Having a sense of humour

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills


Social-emotional skills can be taught. The earlier they are taught, the better. The best strategies for promoting good social-emotional skills include:

  • Helping the child to feel loved and cared for.

  • Positive role modelling.

  • 'Emotional coaching'.

  • Use of positive discipline strategies.

  • Providing a consistent, predictable environment.

  • Promoting independence and freedom within limits.

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