Emotional competence must be at the heart of every childcare center or preschool program. Social and emotional development happens early. All educators and support staff need training rooted in emotional competence to ensure that every child is heard, respected, and given the opportunity to succeed.
Now more than ever we need to focus on our early childhood educators' emotional well-being. It is vital that we work to ensure that we are providing them with high-quality, effective professional development and training opportunities to help them develop the skills to recognize and manage their own emotions, stress, and anxieties so they can better model emotional competence, self-regulation, and empathy for their students. When they master these skills and are trained to successfully teach them to children in their care, we see children who are more confident and empathetic; better able to deal effectively with and manage their emotions and behavior; and more academically, socially, and personally successful (Housman, Denham, & Cabral, 2018). Emotional competence is a foundation for lifelong learning and success, but it starts in the early years, and it starts with our teachers.