AJEC Vol. 42 No. 1 – Strategies that support kindergarten children’s social and emotional development: One teacher’s approach



Gillian Kirk
Edith Cowan University

Judith MacCallum
Murdoch University

This article examines the strategies employed by one kindergarten teacher, Kyra, to
create a classroom where the relationships, play situations and environments worked
synergistically to support children’s social and emotional competencies. The data is drawn
from a larger study, undertaken in 2009, that used qualitative methodology to examine
how teachers were supporting kindergarten children’s social and emotional development.
Out of the eight participants from the original study, Kyra’s pedagogical approach was
found to be unique in that it provided increased opportunities for the development and
consolidation of strategic processes that are essential for independent thinking and
learning. It was found that these opportunities were fostered through a balanced provision
of relationships, play and environments. Collectively, these elements created a context in
which scientific and everyday concepts could connect. The children in this classroom were
observed to demonstrate higher order thinking skills more often and seemingly more
independently than the children in the other classrooms.

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