Pellissippi course aimed at improved social skills in child care, preschool

Tennessee is one of 11 states that have initiated a program to help preschoolers and youngsters in child care develop positive social and emotional behaviors and to give their teachers the methods and materials to teach these skills.

The state’s program, which began last year, is based on a curriculum created by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.

Pellissippi State Community College has a course this semester that uses the CSEFEL model. More than 20 students are taking Advanced Learning Environments (ECED 2110), taught by Shari Lillestolen, assistant professor of Early Childhood Education and a CSEFEL trainer.

“The class is an in-depth CSEFEL orientation for local educators who want to implement the program in area child-care programs,” Lillestolen said. The course also may be applied to recertification for prekindergarten through third-grade teachers.

The Pellissippi State course is an elective in the Early Childhood Education associate’s degree program, and, according Lillestolen, it meets a need that has often gone unaddressed.

“If children come to school without adequate knowledge of social skills,” Lillestolen said, “rather than blaming them, teachers need to intentionally teach them those skills, just like we teach academic skills.

“Early development of positive social dispositions has been shown to have a positive effect on academic and social adaptation in later grades.”

CSEFEL is jointly funded by the federal Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau and distributes educational material to early childhood programs across the country.

For information about enrolling in the class for spring semester, contact Lillestolen at 865-539-7229.

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