Tips From Your School Psychologist
Good Social Skills Improve Learning and Safety
Good social skills are critical to success in life. The extent to which children possess these skills can influence their academic performance, behavior, social and family relationships, and even school safety. Social skills encompass a range of behaviors, such as waiting your turn, asking to use something, joining a group, managing anger or frustration, respecting other people, not interrupting, asking for help, and understanding the social cues of other children.
Most children pick up positive skills through their everyday interactions with adults and peers. However because of increased negative influences in life today, such as media violence and family pressures, it is important that teachers and parents reinforce this casual learning with direct and indirect instruction. This is particularly true given the critical role that social skills play in maintaining a positive school environment and reducing school violence. Aggressive or disruptive behavior often occurs because children do not know how to express themselves or respond to classmates appropriately.
Effective social skills programs involve parents and teachers working together. They can be implemented at a school-wide, classroom, and individual level and always emphasize teaching a desired skill, as opposed to punishing negative behaviors. Adults can reinforce positive socials skills a number of ways.
Schools across the country are discovering that integrating socials skills into the curriculum has a significant impact on the quality of the school experience. We see improved behavior in the classroom, reduced conflicts at recess and lunch, and an increase in students' ability to resolve problems on their own. This translates into fewer referrals for discipline problems and a better learning environment for all students.
Parents who have questions about either the social skills program or their child should contact their child's teacher, the school counselor, or me at CONTACT INFORMATION.