Note: Download the attached documents to get started with Teachable Moments.
The development of social and emotional skills is crucial to the success and confidence of young learners. Children’s social and emotional skills are essential for school readiness and are central building blocks for cognitive development and for gaining knowledge.
Therefore, in conjunction with WePlaySmart® experiences and the Beyond the Table activities, we wanted to provide you with Teachable Moments. Teachable Moments are intentional strategies that enable educators to integrate techniques and cues into their daily interactions. These techniques are essential for scaffolding children’s development of social and emotional skills. As you review the WePlaySmart® Progress Monitoring Tool (and as you observe the children in your class on a day-to-day basis), you should reference Teachable Moments to find support, training, useful phrases, and other intentional strategies that will increase the children’s experiences and successes with all of the social and emotional skills provided through WePlaySmart®.
As early childhood educators, you already know that your classroom provides endless teachable moments every day. For example, suppose that Jacob is playing at the water table, and you notice that he has arranged the rubber ducks from largest to smallest. Taking a minute or two to ask Jacob open-ended questions about his work creates a teachable moment during which you also enable him to talk about seriating, among other math skills.
Teachable scenarios can extend beyond cognitive development to address social and emotional development. For example, Jacob is at the water table, and his classmate Lucy wants to join him but will not ask him if she can help with the ducks. The teacher observes Lucy’s hesitation and quietly asks Jacob whether she can watch him work. Jacob agrees and makes room. The teacher looks up and signals Lucy to come closer. She says to Lucy, “Would you like to help, too?” Lucy nods. “Can you ask Jacob the same way that I did? He is really good at working here, and he can help you.” Lucy shrugs and quietly asks Jacob whether she can play, too. He readily agrees, and, as Lucy steps to the table, the teacher backs away, saying, “You two have fun! I cannot wait to see what you do next. If you need me, I’ll be at the next center.”
Although there are a number of ways this interaction could have gone, the teacher noticed Lucy’s hesitation. Due to other interactions the teacher has observed, the teachable moment became one of modeling and guidance. Within the documents attached below, you will find the social and emotional skills from WePlaySmart® and the Beyond the Table activities integrated into the Teachable Moments content.
How to Use These Documents
- Teachable Moments provide a brief description of the social–emotional skill that needs attention in early-childhood settings.
- Tipping Points provide you with an example of what it might look or sound like when a child (or children) struggles with the skill in question.
- Teacher Trainings provide you with more information about why the social–emotional skill in question is important to the overall development of young children.
- Intentional Strategies are the techniques, cues, modeling tips, and hints that make up the bulk of Teachable Moments. These are the strategies to integrate into your daily life as an educator to increase the success of social and emotional development of your young learners.
Download these documents to get started!