Supporting kindergarten children’s social and emotional development: Examining the synergetic role of environments, play and relationships
Journal of Research in Childhood Education
Taylor & Francis Group
School of Education
This study examined how teachers support kindergarten children’s social and emotional development in everyday contexts. It used an ethnographic qualitative mode of enquiry, employing participant observations and semi-structured and structured interviews to examine the ways teachers optimize opportunities for supporting kindergarten children’s social and emotional development. Data were analyzed through collating common themes and bundling ideas. The data from this study were taken from a larger study, and reports on three of the original eight case studies. These three case studies were chosen for this article to specifically and succinctly articulate the findings. The data are discussed in terms of guided participation which supports the notion that guidance can occur anywhere, and that guidance can be either desirable or undesirable. The study found that the three elements of environment, play, and relationships work in synergy to support children’s social and emotional development. When one element does not exist, or is not well developed, the other two are affected, limiting the effectiveness of social and emotional supports for children. Those classrooms where all three elements are present are more likely to offer guided participation that is desirable and supportive of kindergarten children’s social and emotional development.