Early Childhood Education

10 Social Skills Learned in Preschool

10 Social Skills Learned in Preschool

Isn’t it wild that we have to learn how to interact with other people? We aren’t born with the skills to share, sympathize, or deal with conflict — which all seem like things that just happen as adults. When do we learn all of these things?

The answer for many of them is preschool!

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Preschool helps equip children with all kinds of important social skills that they will continue to build on their entire lives. Here are a few of the ways preschool can prepare your child socially for the road ahead. 

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are 10 important social skills that your child will learn while attending preschool. 

Sharing

This is probably the social skill anyone could guess but no one would argue with in terms of its importance. Sharing is a difficult skill to learn. It takes time and passing through to specific developmental stages for kids to grasp it at all.

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Thankfully, preschool provides the perfect place to learn how to share. Being in an environment that encourages group activities, playing with others, taking turns, and cooperating with people their age mean that they are used to sharing when they get to kindergarten. Studies have shown that kids who learn about sharing in preschool very quickly start mimicking the behavior themselves. Win-win!

Empathy & Understanding

If left to our own devices, every human would think the universe revolves around them. There are lots of ways the “real world” teaches us that is not the case, but preschool can be a very safe and nurturing place to learn about empathy and understanding. By interacting with their classmates, children begin to understand different perspectives and emotions, which develops empathy and compassion. Research shows that preschools who emphasize social and emotional learning set their tiny students up for big success in life. 

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Conflict Resolution

Any time people interact, there is potential for conflict. Nowhere is that more evident than a room full of preschoolers. 

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But exposing children to conflict gives them plenty of chances to learn how to resolve it. Learning how to negotiate, compromise, and problem-solve are all benefits that children pick up from learning how to deal with differences between one another. 

Listening Skills

Very much like navigating conflict, the best way to teach listening skills to a preschooler is to put them in situations where they’re required to listen. Preschool gives kids the chance to follow instructions from teachers, listen to and tell stories, engage in discussions, and listen to other children during conversations.

Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is one of those skills that takes a lifetime to “master” — and even in adulthood, it’s hard! Without practice and guidance, it’s a skill that even a lot of adults struggle to sharpen. In a structured setting like preschool, children learn every day how to manage their emotions and behaviors. Learning how to do that in preschool predicts better performance in school and fewer behavioral problems later on in life. 

Independence & Decision-Making

When your little one is “on their own” at preschool, it gives them practice on being independent and making their own decisions. (Under the guided supervision of their teacher, of course 🙂)

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Preschool lets children build their independence by letting them make their own decisions, try things they wouldn’t normally, and see that putting in the effort to try things is worth it. Researchers have observed that children who go to preschool come up with significantly more alternatives when it comes to decision-making than those who don’t. And preschool encourages children to make choices, fostering independence and responsibility for their actions.

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Teamwork & Collaboration

Funny enough, while preschool does teach children how to be independent, it also creates an environment where teamwork and collaboration are the norm. Engaging in group activities in preschool allows children to work as a team and understand the importance of collaboration to achieve common goals.

Respect for Diversity

Interacting with children from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences in preschool promotes an understanding and appreciation of diversity. Much like building empathy and understanding, respecting diversity happens best when children are exposed to people who live different lives than they do.

Initiating & Maintaining Friendships

Making friends is hard. But preschool provides opportunities for children to form new friendships, learn about the social norms of making friends, and maintain positive relationships with other children every single day. Studies have shown that learning how to make friends early in life leads to better social outcomes for kids as they grow. 

Coping with Separation Anxiety

Everyone can agree that leaving your comfort zone is hard. For many children, preschool might be their first time away from their parents or caregivers. And in a post-COVID-19 world, heightened separation anxiety is still very much an issue. 

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Learning to cope with separation anxiety helps kids develop resilience and adaptability. And when preschools are intentional about helping the children they serve learn how to separate from mom and dad, the outcomes are positive.

All of these skills can be learned in other ways, but preschool has proven to be an incredible resource for parents when it comes to transitioning kids to kindergarten. If a child has had even one year of preschool, it helps prepare them emotionally for the big change of going to school. So if you’re considering sending your child to preschool, rest assured that it will benefit them socially as well as academically

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