Facilitating social emotional learning in kindergarten classrooms: situational factors and teachers’ strategies

Siew Chin Ng*, Rebecca Bull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Many young children spend a significant amount of time each day in preschool settings. It is important to understand how teachers create and maximize opportunities for children’s social and emotional learning (SEL) in the classrooms. This research was conducted in Singapore and explores how SEL is supported by teachers in areas identified in the national curriculum (self-awareness and positive self-concept, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision-making). The qualitative analyses draw on observations across six preschool classrooms. There were 32 instances identified in which teachers provided support for SEL across three aspects of interactional situations: group size, type of activity, and type of teaching opportunity. More opportunities for SEL were afforded in small group versus whole group activities and more often in outdoor play and planned lesson times than when children were in learning centers, at mealtimes, or making transitions between activities. Intentional teaching also afforded more opportunities for SEL as compared to incidental teaching. Teachers adopted a variety of verbal and non-verbal strategies to support SEL that included setting a positive tone, suggesting solutions, allocating tasks, and extending on responses. This research provides knowledge about how, and in what interactional situations, teachers demonstrate SEL support to individuals and groups of children in kindergarten classrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-352
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • social emotional learning
  • kindergarten
  • teacher–child interactions
  • teacher strategies


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