Social-emotional development is the domain in which children grow in their understanding of their emotions and of the emotions of others and learn to create positive relationships with those around them. Children are able to identify their own feelings and be sensitive to the feelings of others, regulate their emotions and behaviors, demonstrate empathy, and form relationships. Current thinking about children’s social-emotional development emphasizes the importance of relationships and the complexity of the contexts of each child’s life.

For much of the past century, a major goal of early childhood has been the socialization of children, as they grow in their emotional well-being and learn to negotiate interactions with others in their world. With recognition of the tremendous growth that takes place in the first years ...

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