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The importance of emotional competence and self‑regulation from birth: a case for the evidence‑based emotional cognitive social early learning approach

by Donna K. Housman

Neuroscientific advances demonstrate that the age range from zero to 5 years old represents a critical window for both learning and teaching, which must involve the development of emotional competence and the growth of self-regulation as a foundation for long-term academic, personal, and social success, promoting mental health and well-being. Recent findings suggest that these capacities emerge from the co-regulation of empathic social and emotional interactions between a caregiver and young child. Based on this research, the present review will (a) describe the theoretical underpinnings of a childcare and development center-based social and emotional learning approach to support the growth of these foundational capacities in children from birth; (b) examine the role of co-regulation with a professional caregiver/teacher in promoting these capacities; and (c) detail how emotional cognitive social early learning, an integrative evidence-based approach, endeavors to foster these competencies through emotional communication, guidance, tools and techniques, most notably causal talk in the context of emotional experience. Read full article