Social Competence Education in Early Childhood

A Sociocultural Perspective

Authored by: Stacy DeZutter , Melissa K. Kelly

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023

10.4324/9780203841198.ch14

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Abstract

This chapter examines research on early childhood educational programs that aim to prepare children for participation in democratic society. We write from the perspective that the development of social competence is an essential component of early childhood education and that a full understanding of such education requires a research corpus that is multilayered and examines practices and contexts. Recent research is shedding new light on the importance of attending to children’s social development in early childhood education, but the centrality of social competence education to early schooling is far from a new idea. Foundational thinkers such as Dewey, Froebel, and Montessori emphasized the importance of preparing young children to be competent participants in society (Saracho & Spodek, 2007) and Vygotsky emphasized that social competence is fundamental to all areas of child development (Hedegaard, 2007; Vygotsky, 1978).

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