Parental and Educator Perspectives on Young Children’s Acquisition of Self-Regulatory Skills
The principal goal of this study was to understand how preschool children of ages four to five years acquire self-regulation. This study aimed to understand the essence of the experience for parents and educators of developmentally guiding children toward autonomous and socially competent self-regulating behaviors. Using a phenomenological research design to analyze multiple data sources including 200 pages of interview and focus group transcriptions from 12 parents and three educators, this study found: (1) there is a developmental trajectory for the acquisition of self-regulatory skills for children as well as their parents and educators, (2) synchronous adult-child affect has significant impact on a child’s ability to self-regulate, (3) parents and educators clearly articulated child centered and developmentally appropriate guidelines for nurturing self-regulation in preschool children, but they were surprised by the sophistication, duration, and reciprocity of growth that occurs in the acquisition of self-regulation of four and five year olds. The implications have a resounding influence on the future of education and include examining the development of self-regulatory skills for both the preschoolers, and parents/educators and how more synchronous adult-child affect can promote each child’s optimal readiness to learn.
Keywordsself-regulation emotion regulation emotions social competence moral reasoning early childhood families parents teachers early childhood educators child development behaviour routines preschool preservice teachers qualitative research interviews
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