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Social competence in children is the capacity for a child to realize individual aspirations in social relations while concurrently maintaining constructive associations with other children over time and across diverse conditions (Rubin & Krasno, 1992). Normally, not all children can display social competence due to different environmental and social factors. The relationship of a child with other peers and close adults highly affects the child’s social competence.
In a small junior, three little girls were enrolled, as a transfer from other schools. They were all enrolled in grade one and were all six years. It was there first day in school and as it would be expected, the three girls had to withdraw from the rest since they did not interact with them earlier. When it was break time, all the children were in a playful mood, expect for these new comers. However, one of the newcomers was very different. She started playing with the others even if she did not know them which indicated that she was very interactive. She then spotted a lonely girl seated at one corner, crying softly and experiencing what seemed like being mocked by others. When she approached there, she noticed that the crying girl’s uniform was wet, and she smelled urine. When she enquired from the others, they told her that the girl used to wet on herself regularly. As the others were mocking her, she demonstrated empathy, by holding he hand and told her not to cry. She encouraged her and reported to the teacher, explaining how others had mocked her. The teacher took the little girl and provided some other uniform for her to change. The other children were shocked at the confidence of this new comer. The teacher was very happy and he even told the two girls to be friends and to be playing together. This scenario indicates that the new girl demonstrated aspects of social competence. This is because she shows empathy for the crying girl and she was not intimidated by others, who could not take such a step for a long time. Moreover she demonstrated that she was very interactive and gets along with new play mates well while making friendship out of her interaction.
Children with social competence are able to take the viewpoints of others, and resolving differences through concession. Preschool and kindergarten teachers highlight the significance of children’s self-regulation, cooperativeness, emotional ability and amiability to handle the novel stresses of the classroom setting as essential to future academic success. More socially competent children get more positive introductions from peers, are more admired and are more accepted and liked by their peers. Eventually, socially competent children have better self-value and self-assurance in their abilities (Hastings et al, 2006). Rubin & Krasno (1992) agrees that children learn to appreciate others' ideas, feelings, intentions and goals. In turn, with these new social understandings, the child can think about the cost of his or her actions for both the self and for others, and with this in mind, practice suitable and useful social behavior.
In general, a number of environmental factors, behaviors and skills cause a child to develop social competence. These comprise peer-relation skills like group entry and helpful communication, expressive and behavioral self-regulation, social problem-solving and con%uFB02ict resolution skills, interpersonal outlook-taking and self-contention abilities. Together, these and other factors allow a child to instigate and uphold rewarding social contacts, and improve or terminate social interactions that are unproductive (Hastings et al, 2006).
McClellan & Katz (2001) notes that peer associations particularly contribute much to both social and cognitive development and to the effectiveness with which children operate as adults. He states that the best childhood predictor of adult familiarization is the sufficiency with which the child interacts with other children, but not school grades, and classroom behavior. Children who are not capable of sustaining close associations with other children, who cannot set up a place for themselves in the peer, who are violent and troublesome and who are normally detested, are gravely at risk. The risks are many: low attainment and other school difficulties, deprived mental health, and dropping out of school. Moreover, the associations that children build up are very much influenced by how they act to and are regarded by their classmates. However, the most significant indicator to note is not the quantity but the worth of a child's friendships. Children who build up a close friend augment the extent to which they develop a positive attitude toward school over time. There is proof that some children are plainly shyer or more restrained than others, and it might be counterproductive to drive such children into social associations that make them uneasy.
There are normal features of life that offer a child with the resources to flourish and attain social competence: helpful and caring parents, mentoring relationship with another apprehensive and involved adult, adequate socioeconomic resources, integral intellectual abilities, established home lives and good health (Hastings et al, 2006). McClellan & Katz (2001) adds that nuclear and extended family relationships and cultural backgrounds also influence social behavior. What is suitable or efficient social behavior in one culture might not be in another. Therefore, many children might require help in bridging their variations and in finding ways to learn from and like the companionship of one another.
However, despite the many positive factors there are risk factors that render a child tot to develop social competence. These are influences that weaken children’s optimistic functioning and direct them along unfavorable trajectories toward adverse or maladaptive developmental effects. Consequently, there are hardships that are likely to drawback children and diminish their chances of building up the skills and abilities of social competence. For instance, domestic violence, persistent illness, poverty, child mistreatment and neurocognitive dilemmas are noticeable and apparent examples. Nevertheless, risk factors can also be more delicate and harder to detect than these examples might suggest (Hastings et al, 2006).
To support this development, teachers can examine and observe relations among children and let them attempt to resolve conflicts by themselves before being involved. Consequently, it is sensible to suppose that irregular social hardships will be outgrown with no interference if a child emerges to be doing well on most of the social characteristics and traits. It is also rational to presuppose that children will reinforce their social skills, assurance, and sovereignty by being trusted to solve their social hardships without adult support. However, if a child appears to be doing badly on many of the social attributes, the answerable adults can execute approaches that will help the child to rise above and outgrow the social difficulties. In addition, early childhood curriculums should contain standard opportunities for impulsive child-initiated social play. This is because social growth starts at birth and progresses speedily during the preschool years. It is through figurative play that young children will probably grow both socially and rationally. Consequently, intermittent appraisal of children's progress in the attainment of social competence is suitable (McClellan & Katz, 2001).
Social competence in children helps children to develop both socially and rationally. Not all children exhibit social competence due to a range of factors. Peer relationships, good parental upbringing and personal attitudes all increases the likelihood of a child developing social competence. Children with social competence exhibit various characteristics: empathy, being always in a positive mood, not easily intimidated, very interactive, not excessively dependant on adults and maintains friendship. Moreover, social competence is important to children in a number of ways: it helps a child to solve conflicts, makes the child to make useful decisions, have emotional ability to deal with classroom stresses and are well accepted by others.
Early childhood professionals including educators and councilors have to develop a number of strategies to support this development. They should at times let the children attempt to solve conflicts by themselves before intervening. Moreover, they should integrate programs of social play in the curriculum. In addition to this it is essential to monitor the interactions of children during play so as to realize the children with social difficulties. It is also very important for the professionals to ensure that children develop a sense of confidence and trust them. Generally, early childhood professionals should not only concentrate on developing the education of children. In addition to this, they should strive to help children develop social competence so that they can be prepared to become dependable and responsible adults.
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