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Social Skills


Social Skilling in Early Childhood




  • has been devised over 30 years based on the work of Arnold Goldstein. It is  research and evidence-based, effective and delivers great results
  • comprises of planned, systemic instruction – explicitly teaching prosocial skills required
  • is a way to improve school climate and self-esteem in individuals

As demands increase on children from family situation or small kindy group to whole class context and then playground with 5 – 10 classes in same area demanding negotiations over space, equipment, friends; different adults on duty, not sure where to go for assistance… There is a need for skills they have not developed and an explanation of rules of which they are uncertain.

The Program

  • Helps identify the students who may need additional support, but delivery is across whole cohort/school and is part of a whole school approach
  • Explains the prerequisite skills needed, then the skills required in different settings – focuses on the ‘hidden curriculum’.
  • Designed to teach skills needed to solve problems that occur in daily life, to be assertive in situations that cause stress/unhappiness and increases the chance for satisfying relationships with peers and adults.
  • Focuses on before, during and after instruction. Uses the 4 principals – modelling, role playing, performance feedback and generalization training
  • Uses role playing to demonstrate skills needed and the ‘how to…’ It is active learning not discussion based
  • Links to developmental expectations – within language, emotional and cognitive development parameters
  • Includes parents and builds positive relationships – assigns skill homework for practice and a chance to apply the learned skills in a different setting.
  • Assists in managing behaviour problems – targets a series of skills and suggests lesson plans, techniques, resources and individual plans if needed

The Skills

Beginning Skills

Listening                       Using nice talk               Using brave talk

Saying thank you           Rewarding yourself        Asking for help

Asking a favour              Ignoring

School-Related Skills                                                    

Asking a question           Following directions       Trying when it is hard     

Friendship-Making Skills

Greeting others              Joining in                      Waiting your turn
Sharing                         Offering help                 Asking someone to play
Playing a game                               

Dealing with Feelings

Knowing your feelings    Feeling left out               Asking to talk                                
Dealing with fear           Showing affection  
Deciding how someone feels 

Alternatives to Aggression

Dealing with teasing       Dealing with feeling mad
Deciding if it is fair         Solving a problem          Accepting consequences

Dealing with Stress

Relaxing                        Dealing with mistakes    Being honest

Knowing when to tell      Dealing with losing        Wanting to be first

Saying no                      Accepting no                 Deciding what to do

Resources: ‘Skillstreaming in Early Childhood – a guide to teaching prosocial skills’, by Ellen McGinness. Based on the work of Arnold Goldstein.