This research brief is a follow up to work done two years ago that focused on how children’s early experiences with reading were associated with school readiness at kindergarten entry. At that time, families of approximately 400 incoming kindergarten students were surveyed regarding their early family reading habits, including whether they participated in the Shelby County Books from Birth (BfB) early literacy program.
It is widely acknowledged by researchers that parental sensitivity is a crucial ingredient—perhaps the most crucial one of all—for the healthy social and emotional development of infants and young children. This consensus is not just based on popular wisdom; it’s been repeatedly confirmed by scientific evidence.
Even for the most prepared parents, raising a healthy and happy child is one of life’s major challenges. Having the ability to check off commonly accepted parenting prerequisites — a quality education, a good job, mental and emotional stability, a safe home — can make the challenge easier to tackle and overcome.
Parents are an infant’s main source of information about the social world. Practically from day one, an infant is reading his parents’ facial expressions, noticing their tone of voice, and watching their gestures. Even at this early stage, he’s using this information to develop skills related to social and emotional development.
What is social and emotional learning, and why is it important? In a nutshell, it’s recognizing our emotions, having some control over them, having empathy for others, handling conflict well, and making good choices about personal and social behavior.
When a child first walks into a classroom, it isn’t immediately apparent which of the letters he knows, or whether he can write his name. What is obvious though, is whether he can keep his hands to himself or communicate his feelings.