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How do teachers support children’s social–emotional competence? Strategies for teachers

Tara McLaughlin, Karyn Aspden, and Linda Clarke

Social–emotional skills provide a critical foundation for learning and wellbeing in early childhood and beyond. In this article we present specific teaching strategies that teachers can implement within the context of supportive, responsive relationships to foster young children’s developing social–emotional competence. The teaching strategies represent practices that have been identified and validated by a range of New Zealand kindergarten teachers and stakeholders from a larger research project focusing on teacher practices. The role of teachers’ intentionality and pedagogical decision making is discussed to ensure practices identified are implemented in developmentally, culturally, and individually appropriate ways in New Zealand early childhood settings.

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