WePlaySmart® by Hatch features a robust progress-monitoring component that allows you to rate children’s social-emotional skills. Here, we define each of the skills and their subskills.
Executive Function Skills
Executive function skills serve as a common denominator for both social interaction and learning. These skills allow a child to focus on multiple and simultaneous sources of information. This allows children to make decisions based on available (including changing) information, including revising plans, as needed, and monitoring mistakes. Additionally, executive function skills help children to resist letting frustration result in impulsive actions.
- To what degree can a child control their attention by focusing on relevant/important stimuli and information, including transferring attention when a difference in stimuli or response is presented. For example, if a child is playing a game and a new object appears on the screen, do they notice it?
- Does the child incorporate new information into their actions?
- If a child is playing a game and there is an activity in the other part of the classroom, do they stay attentive to the game?
- If the child (as expected) becomes momentarily distracted, do they then return to the game without direct guidance from the teacher?
Positive Approaches to Learning
- A positive approach to learning is indicated by curiosity, flexible thinking, and persistence. For example, does the child playing a game show that they want to hear the instructions and learn how the game works?
- Does the child think about different ways in which they could meet the goal?
- Does the child stick with a game until they are successful?
School-Readiness Cognitive Skills
- To what degree does a child show that they are gaining important school-readiness skills in the key areas of language/literacy, mathematics, and general knowledge?
- For example, does the child learn that numbers belong in a sequence?
- Does the child demonstrate an understanding of the difference between lowercase and uppercase letters after playing several relevant games?
- Does the child use new vocabulary words after they are introduced in the games?
- Does the child connect with facts and information presented on topics, such as animals of the rainforest or exhibits in museums?
Social Competence Skills
Social competence is an overall descriptor of a child’s social effectiveness. This is the ability to develop and keep relationships that are of high quality and satisfying to all members of the relationship. Social competence includes the ability to avoid negative treatment or victimization. When social participation and social awareness come together, a child is viewed as socially competent.
Positive Group Participation
- How well does the child take turns and respect others’ space? For example, does the child share the table and the objects with their friends by letting them reach for and move objects?
- Is the child friendly, polite, and respectful? For example, does the child say "thank you" and "please?"
- How well does the child engage in relationship-building behaviors, such as compromise, cooperation, and collaboration? For example, does the child agree to do something the way a peer would like to do it?
- Does the child respond to suggestions and actions of others positively, with evidence of taking social perspective? For example, does the child say encouraging words to friends when they are successful and when they face challenges?
- Does the child express thoughts, feelings, and ideas through appropriate language and gestures?
- To what degree does the child seem to understand and believe that they are capable of attaining goals based on an accurate opinion of personal abilities and limitations? For example, does the child overinflate their abilities by claiming that they can do everything?
- Does the child indicate that they can be successful once they learn how a game works?
Behavioral skills refer to appropriate types of behavior or feelings that most children show under normal circumstances. Children show self-control by choosing appropriate actions and self-regulate by planning and monitoring those actions strategically.
- To what degree does a child choose appropriate over inappropriate actions, such as following rules and directions and learning to delay gratification?
- For example, does the child repeatedly try to play a game in a way that does not work?
- Does the child wait for the system to respond, or do they hit the table with impatience?
- To what degree does a child recognize the role of strategic actions, such as planning, participating, monitoring, and evaluating personal progress? For example, does the child encourage their friends to meet a goal when playing a game?
- Does the child seem aware of how the group and game are progressing along the way?
The core features of emotional development include the ability to identify and understand one’s own feelings, accurately read and comprehend emotional states in others, manage strong emotions and their expression in a constructive manner, regulate one’s own behavior, develop empathy for others, and establish and sustain relationships.
- To what degree does a child identify emotions in themself and others (such as happiness, excitement, empathy, sadness, fear, anger, and frustration)? For example, does the child say accurately how they are feeling?
- Can the child describe how the characters or their friends are feeling with some accuracy?
Intensity of Emotions
- To what degree does a child understand and match emotions to a wide variety of situations? For example, if something minor does not go a child’s way, do they overreact and begin to cry or yell?
- Does the child show that they understand that if a baby character is reunited with its mother, then the baby will probably feel happy and excited?
Go beyond the table with our Teachable Moments. For a more in-depth look at our research, check out this article and read our report: Foundations for WePlaySmart™ by Hatch®: Supporting Social–Emotional Development in Early-Childhood Education.