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Early Childhood Teachers as Socializers of Young Children’s Emotional Competence

Abstract

Young children’s emotional competence—regulation of emotional expressiveness and experience when necessary, and knowledge of their own and other’s emotions—is crucial for social and academic (i.e., school) success. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms of how young children develop emotional competence. Both parents and teachers are considered as important socializers of emotion, providing children experiences that promote or deter the development of emotional competence. However, compared to parents, early childhood teachers’ roles in socializing young children’s emotional competence have not been examined. Based on the findings from research on parental socialization of emotion, in this theoretical review we explore possible teacher roles in the development of young children’s emotional competence. Additionally, we suggest future research focusing on early childhood teacher socialization of emotion, and discuss theoretical and practical benefits of such research.

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Acknowledgments

The thinking behind and writing of this review was funded by IES Grant # R305A110730. We are grateful to the many children, families, teachers, and facilities with whom we have worked, who helped us hone our thinking. We also thank Craig Bailey, Timothy Curby, and Pamela Garner for their assistance.

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Correspondence to Susanne A. Denham.

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Denham, S.A., Bassett, H.H. & Zinsser, K. Early Childhood Teachers as Socializers of Young Children’s Emotional Competence. Early Childhood Educ J 40, 137–143 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-012-0504-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-012-0504-2

Keywords

  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotion knowledge
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Socialization