Introduction Young children are better able to cope with their ever-changing world, to over-
come obstacles, and even to thrive and grow into emotionally healthy adults if
they are provided opportunities to build their self-awareness and confidence.
Caregivers can play an important role in helping children celebrate their in-
dividual differences, as well as develop acceptance and understanding of how
each individual possesses differences, strengths, and abilities. Assisting chil-
dren in recognizing and building on their individual strengths and recogniz-
ing those of others will allow each child to develop both appreciation of others
and a sense of self-worth and confidence, key traits for social and emotional
development addressed within this curriculum.
As children engage with the world around them, they will experience many
emotions, some of which they will have more or less difficulty in handling. Through
this curriculum, you can help each child identify and express feelings at a level
suitable to her language skills and development, adding to her self-awareness
and confidence. Each new experience and the resulting feelings can be confusing
for a child. As children learn about themselves and explore their surroundings,
you can support them by providing factual information and by helping them
cope with and express their feelings in an appropriate manner.
This curriculum will also help children identify their family members and
friends and begin to understand their own roles in these relationships. Young
children generally think of their family as the people who live under the same
roof with them. Their primary caregiver may be a father, mother, grandparent,
sibling, aunt, uncle, stepparent, foster parent, or other guardian. In addition,
many children have extended families and may have homes in more than one
place. A child’s sense of belonging in a family and home may be defined in a
variety of ways. Regardless of the makeup, size, number, or location of those
each child considers “family,” this curriculum will encourage exploration and
acceptance of a wide variety of living situations and families.
Curriculum topics include self-esteem, emotions and feelings, family, friends,
and change in children’s lives. Activities and resources will help children learn to
appreciate themselves and others, begin to recognize various family structures