This study examined pre-school teachers' beliefs regarding the importance of social-emotional competence and teachers' practices that support children's competence.
Heidi Hollingsworth, assistant professor of education, Marna Winter, lecturer in education, published an article titled “Teacher beliefs and practices relating to development in preschool: Importance placed on social-emotional behaviours and skills” (2013) in Early Child Development and Care. This research study examined pre-school teachers’ beliefs regarding the importance of social-emotional competence and teachers’ practices that support children’s competence. Survey results indicated that Head Start and public school pre-K teachers placed higher importance on social–emotional behaviours and skills than on early math and language and literacy behaviours and skills and reported a variety of practices to promote prosocial skills, pretend play and friendships. Practices that support prosocial skills ranged from setting the tone of the social environment to responding to situations that arose. Similarly, practices that support pretend play focused on setting up pretend play scenarios and helping children play in those scenarios. Finally, practices to support friendships involved practices that may set the stage for friendship development, facilitating dyadic and small group interactions, and involving parents. Results are discussed in terms of connections with previous research and developmentally appropriate practice recommendations.