What to Expect From Early Childhood Emotional and Social Development

Montessori preschool helps a young child to grow into a capable, knowledgeable, independent person. Whether you’re new to Montessori or not, understanding your preschooler’s development can help you to better work with the teacher, set expectations, and provide the most support possible.

Take a look at the major emotional and social milestones for three- to five-year-olds and how Montessori can help your child to reach them.

Emotional Development

Preschool-aged children aren’t necessarily masters of their emotions. Emotional development, like the other types of development, doesn’t happen by itself. As your child builds language, critical-thinking, and other skills, they’re better able to identify, name, and control their feelings.

During the preschool years, a young child is gradually building the skills to control their emotions. By age four or five, your child should have the ability to identify what they’re feeling and, at least, attempt to control emotions. Don’t worry if your child still has outbursts or finds handling powerful emotions frustrating. This is common for a young child.

As your child begins to verbalize their feelings, they’re also developing the ability to take perspectives. This allows them to better understand what other people are feeling — eventually leading to the development of empathy. You may notice that your older preschooler seems more sensitive towards their friends’ or family members’ feelings.

Even though your child can demonstrate empathy, don’t expect to see it in every situation. This is a budding ability, meaning it’s still in the development phase.

Montessori for Emotional Development

How can a Montessori education help your child to develop emotionally? The Montessori philosophy helps young children to build emotional intelligence through relationships, interactions, and activities. Instead of hovering over the child, directing them at every moment, the Montessori educator acts as more of a guide. This allows the child to take control and learn how to self-regulate.

Self-regulation is crucial for emotional development. Without it, the child is at a loss for how to control their own emotions. Unlike traditional classrooms, which often use a reward–punishment system, the Montessori preschool encourages internal motivation. This builds lasting skills your child will use for a lifetime.

Along with self-regulation, Montessori’s multi-age approach to classroom groupings fosters emotional skill building. Again, younger preschoolers are often immature when it comes to emotional understanding. These children benefit from watching and interacting with older students who have more sophisticated emotional skills.

Social Development

Social development often goes hand in hand with emotional skill building. Preschool-aged children are developing the ability to share, take turns, communicate with others, negotiate conflicts, and make true friends.

Your child will go from playing next to their peers (seen in the toddler years) to experiencing activities with their new friends. This often includes engaging in pretend play scenarios, group games, or physical or athletic activities.

Montessori for Social Development

How can a Montessori education help your child’s social development? Like with emotional development, the self-regulation encouraged in a classroom environment makes interacting with others easier. Instead of pushing or shoving peers out of the way to get a turn at the art easel, the child will use their developing internal control abilities to share and take turns.

The Montessori classroom revolves around respect for others and building interpersonal skills. These abilities will help your child to create friendships as they develop prosocial behaviors. The harmonious balance fostered by the Montessori classroom setting makes it easy to cooperate with others, developing respect for peers, teachers, and other adult staff in the school.

Is your child ready to build new skills through a Montessori education? Are you looking for a new school that fosters emotional and social growth? Contact Miniapple International Montessori School for more information.

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