Socio-Emotional Development

During the infant and toddler years, children learn the fundamentals of emotional experience and social interaction as they develop their sense of self in relationship with others. The nurturing care of warm, knowledgeable adults is critical at this time to enable the children to develop trust in themselves and others, confidence in their own and others’ abilities and sympathy and connectedness with others.

At Sunshine Academy, we foster socio-emotional development through the children’s daily learning experiences as well as curriculum units on “All About Me,” “Family and Friendship,” “Emotions and Feelings” and “My World.”


Learn the names of different feelings and recognize the situations that give rise to them

  • Read books such as “When Sophie Gets Angry,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” or “Alexander and the Terrible…Very Bad Day”
  • Practice making different faces in the mirror to represent different emotions, such as sad, glad
  • Draw faces that represent different feelings and discuss events that make people feel that way
  • Sing songs such as “When You’re Happy and You Know It…” or the “Interjections!” song
  • Use puppets to role play events and feelings

Express needs and emotions effectively, with appropriate words

  • Practice using basic needs words such as “more please,” “hungry,” “juice,” “tired”
  • Read books such as “Please Baby Please”
  • Make a handprint poster showing what hands are used for, not for hitting

Respond appropriately to others’ feelingss

  • Sing songs that use the names of all class members, such as the “next to you” song
  • Practice “I’m sorry” in appropriate contexts

Develop strategies to tolerate uncertainty and manage transitions easily

  • Practice sitting with a book while waiting for friends to wake up or finish an activity
  • Sing songs like the hello and good-bye songs

Recognize and take pride in one’s own accomplishments, develop self-esteem

  • Practice self-help skills such as putting on coat
  • Build and knock down towers with soft blocks
  • Make “My Favorites,” “I Can Do It,” “My World” or “I am Special” collages
  • Hang art in class with photos of the process

Engage in parallel play, share space and materials with other children

  • Draw side-by-side at the table, share crayons
  • Use puppets or dolls to demonstrate sharing
  • Sing songs such as the “Sharing Song”

Engage in pretend play with other children, role play different types of relationships

  • Play picnic, pizza party, etc in the kitchen area
  • Wash the baby dolls, wrap them in blankets
  • Dress up as fire fighters, chefs, ballerinas, etc.

Learn to maintain classroom, care for materials

  • Sing the clean up song while putting toys away
  • Clean up snack and lunch materials after meals