Lakewood Childcare Center

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SOCIAL SKILL STREAMING

Social skill streaming are prosocial skills that children learn with others of how to get along in a classroom of other children and adults. In a group setting children engage in activities with peers, sit close to each other at group times, change routines through the day following a schedule, follow directions, and interact cooperatively with others in various settings. Being in the classroom brings new skills and behaviors that the children will be exposed to and learn to use accordingly.


We incorporate these skills into our lesson plans for the children to learn. These skills help the children learn how to communicate with others appropriately, and they also help build confidence to do so. These are skills that are important to others in the children’s environment. The skills are taught in simple 1-4 step directions that are easy for the children to understand. We introduce the skill and model how the skill is used, and then we practice the skill with role play.


One skill we are currently working with the children on is Asking for Help.


The steps for asking for help:

  • Try it – talk about the importance of trying on your own first. Sometimes people ask for help instead of trying something difficulty by themselves but doing something difficult on your own can give you a feeling of pride.
  • Say, “I need help.” Acknowledge that sometimes it is frustrating when something is difficult to do but stress the importance of using nice talk.


Practice:

  • Remind your child to use the skill when you see a time the skill can be helpful.
  • Respond positively to your child’s skill use (allow the skill to be successful).
  • Reward your child’s use of the skill (you may use a parent award and have your child return it to school).
  • Ask your child to teach you, or brother or sister.

SELF-DIRECTED PLAY IN THE CLASSROOM

Self-directed play is an important part of a young child’s development that allows children to experience independence in a safe classroom environment. There are many benefits of self-directed play such as building self-confidence by exploring on their own. It stimulates their imagination and gives them opportunities to expand on and build creativity in play. Self-directed play aids in building problem solving skills; as they explore materials independently, they figure out how to make things work the way they want it to. There is no timeline with self-directed play, and this allows children to learn at their own pace and build on their own knowledge. Children motivate themselves through self-directed play and they naturally challenge themselves to try new experiences.


In pre-Covid times we supported the children’s self-directed play skills with the use of a choice chart. The chart has pictures of each area in the classroom: blocks, music, drama, math, language, safe space, sensory table, science, art, my space, and books. The children go to this chart to choose which area they want to be in and then they find their name and place it with the picture of the area. This chart is beneficial to children new to the room that are getting to know the classroom. Each picture also has a number of stickers on it to show how many friends can be in that area, which helps them learn to check before entering the area rather than entering and having to leave cause there are too many friends.


We currently do not use the choice chart but have modified the classroom set-up to allow the children to choose materials more independently. The trays of toys for the children to choose from are now down at their level to enable them to look and see their choices and choose which materials they want to work with. This modification will build their independence and confidence to choose, and we have seen the children take joy in being responsible for going to the shelf to choose what they would like to work with.

PRE-SCHOOL PAGE

STRANGER DANGER

We have been talking to the children about strangers quite a bit. We read stories and have simple discussions about what to do when approached by a stranger. The key points we touch on are that a stranger is someone you do not know, go to an adult you do know if a stranger tries to talk to you, NEVER talk to someone you do not know.


We also talk about who the safe side adults are moms, dads, teachers, grandma’s, grandpa’s, aunts, uncles, police officers and firemen to name a few. These are adults you can talk to.


This age is just the right time to start talking to your children about strangers; there is no need to be elaborate and go into detail for them to understand. Be simple and help them understand by reading stories and asking and answering questions. Be honest, it is okay to tell your child that people we do not know, may also not be nice people, and that some can be hurtful. Be simple with it but make your child aware of how important it is not to talk to strangers.


Some books you can read to your child:


Never Talk to Strangers by Irma Joyce

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan & Jan Berenstain

The Day My Parents Got Lost by Susette Williams

I Can Play It Safe by Alison Feigh

A Little Book About Safety by Ruby’s Studio and the Mother Company