M11 Caring About Caring

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1 RESEARCH IN REVIEW Caring about Caring: What Adults Can Do to Promote Young Children’s Prosocial Skills Marilou Hyson and Jackie L. Taylor “I worry about how the children treat one another every day. There are those moments when they struggle to be kind, and when they Spinrad 2006, 646). This article draws t h e s e t e A c h e r s ’ A r e f l e c t e d s i n make fun of someone else.” extensively on their excellent literature many early childhood edu- c o m m e n t s , Amanda, Pre-K Teacher — review. The second author of this article cators are seriously concerned about (Taylor) conducted a survey and face-to- bullying and aggression. Children’s nega- face interviews about prosocial develop- tive social behaviors also dominate the “[Some children] have a tough time ment with early childhood teachers and media and are the focus of much current fitting in. Children who . . . physi- directors in the spring of 2010. In the research. Recent studies result in some cally lash out at other children, hit, interviews, early childhood educators progress in understanding the early ori- punch. I have a large number [of used terms such as empathy, sharing, gins and harmful effects of physical and children] who need help.” compassion, helping others, compromise, relational aggression (Crick et al. 2006) Rachel, Teacher — hugging other chil- respect for others, and and designing interventions to reduce to describe prosocial behavior in dren its occurrence (Ostrov et al. 2009). It is young children (Taylor 2010). Prosocial equally important to nurture positive “I feel . . . responsible for the quality behaviors might also include cooperat- prosocial alternatives—children’s feel- of the interactions children experi- ing, including others in play, giving a ings and behavior toward others. ence. Sometimes children make fun compliment, and comforting a child who Nancy Eisenberg, a leading researcher of one another or bully each other.” is upset (Honig 2004; Ramaswamy & in the area of prosocial behavior, and Bergin 2009). her coauthors describe prosocial behav- — Maria, Pre-K Teacher One word, voluntary, is especially ior as “voluntary behavior intended to important in Eisenberg’s definition of benefit another” (Eisenberg, Fabes, & prosocial behavior. If children are forced to “be nice and share” or told to “say you’re sorry,” then their behavior is not voluntary and cannot be considered PhD, is a US and international early childhood consultant based in Stock- Marilou Hyson, prosocial. The research we share in bridge, Massachusetts. A former editor in chief of and Early Childhood Research Quarterly this article highlights many ways that former NAEYC associate executive director, she has published several books on emo- children’s prosocial development can be tional development and children’s approaches to learning. [email protected] actively promoted without being forced. MS, is program director of the Texas AEYC in Austin, home of the Jackie L. Taylor, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood TEXAS Project. Jackie is a 2009 Head Start Fellow and serves on the State Early Childhood Career Development System Advisory Committee. A preview - She has provided training and consulting on children’s prosocial behavior to early child hood programs for over 18 years. [email protected] With Eisenberg’s definition in mind, Mary McMullen, This Research in Review article was edited by journal research editor we summarize the research on young PhD, professor of early childhood education at Indiana University in Bloomington. children’s prosocial development and The authors wish to thank the teachers and directors in the Central Texas area who behavior. In doing so, we emphasize participated in the surveys and interviews. For copies of survey information, please studies and literature reviews published contact Jackie Taylor at [email protected] within the past 10 years, especially those with implications for how early ® 1, 2, 7 childhood educators might intentionally Young Children • July 2011 74

2 adulthood found that children who were observed to spontaneously share toys more often than their classmates showed more prosocial skill 19 years later (Eisenberg et al. 1999). Children’s prosocial competence also predicts their strengths in other areas, correlating with academic as well as social-emotional skills. For example, a recent study of Head Start children showed that those who scored higher on assessments of prosocial competence were, later on in the year, assessed to be among the most “cognitively ready” for school (Bierman et al. 2009). Another study showed that first-graders with low-income backgrounds who were more helpful to others had greater literacy skills in third grade (Miles & Stipek 2006). So there are many compel- ling reasons to care about caring. © Julia Luckenbill The scope of this short review is promote prosocial skills among pre- Prosocial children: intentionally limited. We will be able to school and kindergarten children. Are they born or made? touch only briefly on research on proso- It is important to know that much of the prosocial research has been done cial development in infants and tod- with parents and children at home, not dlers, in children with disabilities, and with teachers and children in center- among culturally diverse children within “I have students who are ‘natural’ and beyond the United States. Many of based or family child care settings. Also, helpers. These are the students most of the research is correlational: the general references listed at the end who clean up without being asked, of this article will help readers pursue thus it cannot show definitively that help a friend clean up spilled milk, children to certain experiences cause these and other topics in more depth. or give someone a toy without be more prosocial or that children’s having to be asked. I am not sure prosocial skills cause them to develop why some children have a predis- other desirable competencies. However, Key questions position toward prosocial behav- we are confident of our conclusions here ior and some seem to struggle.” because in this review we have relied Our discussion of the research is orga- not just on the results of small individ- Amanda, Pre-K Teacher — nized around three questions: (1) Why is ual studies but also on evidence from a prosocial development so important— number of different types of studies. that is, why care about caring? (2) How do children develop prosocial skills— Although research has identified early that is, are prosocial children born or signs of empathy and prosocial behavior made? and (3) What can early childhood among infants and toddlers, it takes a professionals do to promote children’s sensitive observer to notice these signs A recent study of Head prosocial development? (see, for example, Quann & Wien 2006; Start children showed McMullen et al. 2009; Gillespie & Hunter 2010). By their first birthday, many Why care about caring? that those who scored children show what Hoffman (2000) Early childhood educators want to calls “empathic distress”—for example, higher on assessments help children become kind, generous, crying when they see other children - of prosocial compe and empathic. Starting early is impor - cry, or looking sad when caregivers tant, because early prosocial tendencies look unhappy. Around 14 months, many tence were, later on in often continue into later years. Children toddlers spontaneously try to help if who are more prosocial when they begin someone seems unhappy. Usually this the year, assessed to be school continue to be more prosocial in involves the toddler doing something among the most “cogni- the primary grades (Eisenberg, Fabes, & that would be comforting to the toddler, Spinrad 2006). And this pattern seems not necessarily what would comfort the tively ready” for school. to continue: one study that followed other person. By 18 months, toddlers children from preschool into early will even help a stranger in a research • July 2011 Young Children 75

3 What can early childhood profes- sionals do to promote children’s prosocial development? Adults are the most important features of young children’s environments (see Pianta 1997; Shonkoff & Phillips 2000). In various ways, adults may encourage or discourage children’s development of prosocial behavior. Across the grades, including preschool, classroom observa- tions reveal how seldom children behave in prosocial ways and how seldom teachers explicitly encourage, reinforce, or discuss expectations for prosocial behavior (Spinrad & Eisenberg 2009). Even in some infant classrooms, observ- ers may find active discouragement of prosocial interactions and relationships, as seen in one center (McMullen 2010) where staff always “taught” babies one by one, in isolation from others, and where staff moved a baby away from another when the two had contentedly been playing side by side. Basing our discussion on relevant research, in the next section of the review we describe five areas in which early childhood professionals’ actions can promote prosocial development. Promoting children’s prosocial development Educators can promote prosocial © Marilyn Nolt development by building secure rela- tionships, creating classroom com- laboratory, picking up an object if they than others. Are such children simply munity, modeling prosocial behavior, notice that the adult seems unable to do born more prosocial than their peers? establishing prosocial expectations, and so (Warneken & Tomasello 2006). Just as there are genetic influences on supporting families. During the preschool years, more children’s general sociability and empa- signs of empathy, helpfulness, and thy (Knafo et al. 2008), there may also be 1. Building secure relationships concern for others usually appear, and genetic influences on prosocial tenden- When teachers intentionally create preschoolers become more aware of and cies, as seen in studies of identical twins secure relationships in early childhood intentional about their prosocial actions later raised in different families (Knafo programs, children benefit socially, (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad 2006). & Plomin 2006). However, researchers emotionally, and academically (Howes School-age children often behave more agree that these influences are small in & Ritchie 2002; Hamre & Pianta 2001; prosocially than they did as preschool- comparison with the strong influence of Palermo et al. 2007). Now we have ers, in part because of their growing children’s environments, especially when ability to understand others’ thoughts it comes to children’s actual behaviors, and feelings and to regulate their own not just their general feelings of empa- “Some [children] have much more distress and impulsive behavior. thy. The researchers’ findings contrast prosocial families [who are nurtur - Most children begin early in life to act with the common belief—reflected by ing], and in a classroom they are in ways that show empathy and pro- a number of teachers interviewed in more caring with peers.” social tendencies. Yet it is obvious Taylor’s study and shown in this arti- that—at any age—some children are cle—that differences in prosocial tenden- — Jermayn, Pre-K Teacher more helpful, concerned, and caring cies are essentially genetic or “natural.” Young Children • July 2011 76

4 evidence of the specific benefit of these individual children, those children show relationships for children’s prosocial more empathy and behave more posi- Humans are social crea- development. tively toward others in the classroom Secure relationships begin at home and as reported by mothers (Pianta & tures, and even subtle but extend into early childhood pro- Stuhlman 2004; Spinrad & Eisenberg changes in children’s gram settings as well. Differences in 2009). children’s attachment histories (that Teachers can nurture warm relation- social environments can is, whether they have previously devel- ships in many small ways: responding oped secure or insecure relationships sensitively to children’s everyday needs, make them more aware within their family) may help explain interacting in emotionally supportive of their connection to why some children enter an early child- ways, listening and conversing with hood program with more well-developed sincere attention. Sharing these small the group. prosocial skills than others. There is moments has been called “banking time” good evidence that young children who (Driscoll & Pianta 2010)—that is, invest- have warm relationships and secure ing brief, positive moments with indi- attachments to their parents are more vidual children, especially those who are close-knit learning community—in a likely to be empathic and prosocial often overlooked or viewed negatively classroom or family child care home— (Kestenbaum, Farber, & Sroufe 1989; (Hyson 2004, 2008). can also support children’s prosocial Zhou et al. 2002; Campbell & von development. Stauffenberg 2008), probably because Humans are social creatures, and Creating a classroom community 2. children are more likely to notice and even subtle changes in children’s social A core value of developmentally copy the behavior of adults to whom environments can make them more - appropriate practice is to create a car they feel a close connection. aware of their connection to the group. ing community of learners (Copple & Turning from parents to teachers, In a recent experimental study (Over & Bredekamp 2009). Just as warm teacher- whether or not a child’s parental attach- Carpenter 2009), 18-month-olds were child relationships predict children’s ment has been secure, when teachers much more likely to spontaneously help prosocial skills, being a member of a have warm, secure relationships with a stranger in need after they were shown NEw from NAEYC DISCOVER helps teachers discover best prac- eLearn:tYC tices and learn creative ways to apply them in the classroom. Program directors and adult educators can lead training sessions to build on the content of TYC articles. COnnECt © Ellen B. Senisi users access an online community eLearn:tYC where they exchange ideas about best teaching practices with other educators. SUCCEED Digital learning for effective teaching—professional development that is interactive, collaborative, and fun! eLearn:tYC users take self-assessments and get instant feedback, reinforcing learning and is NAEYC’s new self-paced online professional eLearn:TYC development tool. It combines a digital version of Teaching encouraging reflection. Program directors and Young Children (TYC) , NAEYC’s magazine especially for adult educators use reporting tools to track preschool teachers, with a self-assessment and the professional individual and center progress. Achieving pro- to strengthen and enhance NEXT for TYC development resource fessional development goals supports teachers teaching effectiveness. eLearn:TYC connects teachers with their in their work with children and families. peers and offers 24/7 access to more learning opportunities. eLearn:TYC’s easy-to-use format creates a collaborative learning Learn more at eLearn.naeyc.org environment for teachers, program directors, and adult educators. • July 2011 Young Children 77 or call 800-424-2460, option 4.

5 photographs of people together with just immediately but even after consid- 2003). Wanting to play with their friends, others than after viewing photographs erable time has passed—as summarized young children may feel motivated of individuals alone. Teachers can help by Eisenberg and Fabes (1998). to behave prosocially, because other create this affiliative atmosphere in If an adult is warm, nurturing, and children may not want to play with many ways, such as posting class pho- responsive, children are especially them unless they cooperate, help solve tographs, talking about group projects, likely to notice and imitate aspects problems, and engage in flexible give- and reminding children that they are all of their behavior, including prosocial and-take. members of a caring group of friends. actions (Hyson 2004). Thus, teachers There is some evidence that children Young children are actually more who have those characteristics have a who spend time with very prosocial likely to use prosocial behavior when good chance of prompting children’s classmates are likely to become more they are with other children than with empathic, helpful, caring, generous prosocial themselves; over time, they adults (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad behavior by demonstrating that behav- come to adopt the more helpful, caring 2006). Teachers can tap into this ten- ior themselves. Opportunities present norms of their peers (Eisenberg, Fabes, dency by creating many opportunities themselves every day: helping a child & Spinrad 2006). However, it is often for children to work and play together. put on a new jacket that buttons differ - the case that the less-prosocial chil- As they do so, however, teachers need ently; expressing loving concern when a dren tend to spend their time with one to scaffold children’s emerging prosocial child’s parent has been ill; and offering another, thus having fewer opportunities skills; for example, teachers can give a some materials that will help a child to learn from more-prosocial classmates. child words with which to offer help to finish a project. To highlight this mod- These findings should encourage a classmate or suggest ways that two eling, teachers can comment on what teachers to identify everyday opportu- children can extend their pretend play they are doing and why (“Oh, Carla, I nities and plan strategies that will give in a mutually interesting direction. see that you’re having trouble with that. children time, space, and support to Friendships are especially important How about if I help you? It makes me become fully engaged members of their as contexts for prosocial development. happy to help children out when they learning communities (see in particular Children who have more “supportive need it.”). Teachers can also promote Whitin 2001; Honig 2004; Jones 2005; friendships” in preschool have been these skills by modeling kindness and Copple & Bredekamp 2009). As part of found to be more prosocial (Sebanc consideration in their interactions with this effort, teachers can intentionally colleagues and families. counteract the separation of less- prosocial children from the more proso- cial by pairing and mixing up children Establishing prosocial expectations 4. for various activities (Bodrova & Leong 2007), creating more ways for children “I think how I address prosocial to experience others’ prosocial and behavior plays a large role in how empathic behavior. the children interact with one another and what they learn in the 3. Modeling prosocial behavior classroom.” — Amanda, Pre-K Teacher “I have found that most of my stu- dents respond very well to the use Important as adult relationships and of puppet activities. The use of a modeling are, it is not enough to set up puppet makes a huge difference. If a nurturing environment for prosocial they can talk through the problem development, or even just to be proso- with a puppet, they build up to cial ourselves. Children are more likely talking it over with a peer.” to develop empathy and prosocial skills expect if adults make it clear that they — Amanda, Pre-K Teacher ) them to do so. Polite force (but do not requests for children to be helpful and generous are effective and often neces- Adults’ demonstration or modeling sary prompts for prosocial behavior has been found to influence children’s (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad 2006). prosocial development in study after Sometimes adults may think that they study (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad should be more subtle, but children— 2006). Many of these studies have used especially toddlers—may need clear laboratory experiments to examine prompts or cues. For example, in a influences on children’s generosity. For laboratory study, Brownell, Svetlova, example, when children observe an and Nichols (2009) found that 25-month- adult behave in a generous way, they are old children would share voluntarily, but very likely to imitate that behavior, not to elicit this prosocial behavior the adult © Marilyn Nolt Young Children • July 2011 78

6 needed to offer an explicit cue about Spinrad 2006; Trommsdorff, Friedlmeier, what she liked or wanted (“I like crack- & Mayer 2007). In many cultures, includ- ers!” “I need a cracker!”). Note that this ing most non-Western cultures, children differs from an adult either remaining are often expected to do real work that silent and waiting for the child to think helps the family, care for brothers and of sharing the snack or, at the other sisters, share even their beloved pos- extreme, telling the child that he or she sessions with younger children, and must share the crackers. generally be more cooperative members of the community. Teachers may notice differences between children’s behav- iors that emerge from families’ cultur - It is important to point ally influenced prosocial expectations and may see these behaviors reflected out that there are large in children’s pretend play and interac- tions with peers. When a class includes cultural differences and children who are growing up within that adults in some such cultures, other children may have a chance to learn more cooperative and cultures emphasize caring ways of relating to their peers. © Shatri Schmidt prosocial skills far more 5. Supporting families than others. mine prosocial development by relying In prosocial development, as in other on practices that are unlikely to produce aspects of children’s lives, families are these desired results. For example, the first and most influential teachers. many parents believe that children will There are several areas where early Researchers find that when parents become more prosocial if they are given childhood educators might support fam- are very clear about the kind of behav- treats or other rewards for “being nice.” ilies in this role. Whatever their culture, not ior they expect—and what they do Research indicates just the opposite, many families do interact with their chil- wish to see—children indeed become however (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad dren in ways that are likely to encourage more helpful and caring than when 2006; Warneken & Tomasello 2008). children to become more empathic, expectations are less clearly defined Although such rewards may produce generous, and helpful. However, other (Eisenberg, Fabes, & Spinrad 2006). short-term results, they actually backfire families may, without realizing it, under - An especially strong influence on pro- social development is adults’ use of the pointing discipline strategy induction— out the reasons for rules or the effect of one’s behavior on others. For example, Now in Paperback Marta’s mother explains how her daugh- ter’s friend Sarah is feeling because of Preschool in Three Marta’s hurtful comments. As summa- cul evisi Tures r Ted rized by Eisenberg and her coauthors China, Japan, and the United States (2006), research indicates that induction Joseph Tobin, Yeh h sueh, strategies are most likely to be effec- and Mayumi Karasawa tive when they are presented at the “This is a book I strongly recommend. It child’s developmental level, clear and is a rich text presenting a cross cultural, consistent, and delivered by someone cross national, and cross time account of with whom the child has a close, warm Education Review preschool education.”— relationship—which could potentially Per $22.50 Pa include both parents and teachers. A DVD is also available. It shows typical Adults differ a great deal in how days in preschools in China, Japan, clearly they communicate prosocial and the United States, with narration expectations to children. Although a full tracks that present explanations and discussion of cross-cultural research reflections of early childhood educators on prosocial development is not our from each country. intention in this article, it is important individual $85.00 to point out that there are large cultural ins TiTuTions $175.00 differences and that adults in some o order oe T T Tobin.ne Go T o J cultures emphasize prosocial skills far The university of chicago Press more than others (Levine, Norenzayan, www.press.uchicago.edu & Philbrick 2001; Eisenberg, Fabes, & • July 2011 Young Children 79

7 Morrissey (2009) suggests that when families use multiple child care arrange- Research indicates that if parents help children learn ments, their children, especially younger toddlers, show less prosocial behavior to cope with their own negative feelings, their chil- than those who are in a more stable child care setting. It is possible that dren become better able to tune in to and help others multiple caregiving arrangements lessen who are distressed. opportunities for children to develop the secure caregiver relationships that predict prosocial skill development. Although early childhood educators usu- in the long term. Children may become prosocial, with more behavior problems, ally cannot control the factors that lead generous when the expected less perhaps because of their mothers’ stress to individual families’ child care deci- rewards stop coming their way. levels. Through family and community sions, they can advocate for policies and While respecting families’ home outreach, early childhood programs resources that help families access con- practices, early childhood profession- may be in a good position to help fami- sistent, high-quality child care arrange- als might share information about the lies strengthen their social networks, ments that will support prosocial skills risk of rewarding children for sharing thereby benefiting many aspects of as well as other competencies. or being kind, and help families think of parents’ lives, including but not limited other ways to encourage these prosocial to their ability to strengthen their chil- behaviors. For example, research indi- dren’s prosocial skills. Conclusion—Taking action cates that if parents help children learn Families’ child care challenges may to cope with their own negative feelings, also affect their children’s prosocial for caring their children become better able to development. Using data from the NICHD The research reviewed in this article tune in to and help others who are dis- (National Institute for Child Health and clearly demonstrates that the prosocial tressed. Further, when parents talk with Human Development) Study of Early domain is a critical component of chil- children about their own feelings, listen Child Care and Youth Development, to their children when they are upset, and “coach” their children about how to express emotions, their children are likely to develop more prosocial skills Examples of Curricula and Other Resources for (see, for example, Garner, Dunsmore, Supporting Prosocial Development & Southam-Gerrow 2008). Research points out a few cautions about these [including the A Blueprint for the Promotion of Prosocial Behavior in Early Childhood conversations, however. First, one study Bingham Early Childhood Prosocial Curriculum], by Elda Chesebrough, Patricia (Trommsdorff 1995) suggests that when King, Thomas P. Gullotta, and Martin Bloom. 2005. New York: Springer. a mother becomes overly involved in discussing her child’s distress or other Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). highly emotional issues, the child may http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu become so focused on her or his own Children’s Kindness Network. (See especially Moozie’s Kindness www.ckn-usa.org negative feelings that it is difficult to reg- Curriculum, 2004.) ulate those emotions in order to empa- thize with others. And second, there is The Devereux Early Childhood Initiative. evidence that children often try to avoid www.devereux.org/site/PageServer?pagename=deci_index conversations about their prior experi- The Incredible Years: Parents, Teachers, and Children Social Skills Training series. ences with negative emotions, especially www.incredibleyears.com if mothers do not use an accepting, sup- portive, child-centered approach during , by Committee for Children. Second Step: Social-Emotional Skills for Early Learning the conversation (Waters et al. 2010). 2011. www.cfchildren.org/programs/ssp/early-learning Besides helping families have produc- Skillstreaming in Early Childhood: Teaching Prosocial Skills to the Preschool and tive conversations, early childhood by Ellen McGinnis and Arnold P. Goldstein. 1990. Champaign, Kindergarten Child, educators can also support families IL: Research Press. during other situations that can create risks for children’s prosocial develop- “Teaching Parents to Teach Children to be Prosocial,” by Linda K. Elksnin ment. For example, data from a study of and Nick Elksnin. 2000. www.ldonline.org/article/Teaching_Parents_ families living in poverty (Ryan, Kalil, & to_Teach_Their_Children_to_be_Prosocial Leininger 2009) shows that those moth- a project publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance, ers who had less of a social safety net www.tolerance.org (that is, fewer available sources of social support) had children who were less Young Children • July 2011 80

8 dren’s development. The research shows how specific early experiences may help children gain essential prosocial skills. Research into Action: We hope the evidence will encourage teachers, researchers, and policy mak- A Checklist of Everyday Strategies to Promote ers to be at least as intentional in this Prosocial Development domain as they are in early literacy and mathematics. The suggestions that Early childhood program staff can intentionally implement these and other - follow, the examples of prosocial cur ricula and resources, and the checklist research-based strategies, using them in ways that respond to children’s cul- of recommended teaching practices may ture and other individual characteristics. Many of the references in this article jump-start this process. may help guide implementation. Is each child—especially any child who may be struggling with behavioral o Program-level actions. A good start- ing point for an intentional approach to challenges—involved in frequent, friendly, individual interactions with teach- prosocial development is to examine and ers? (Even a few minutes a day help build a secure relationship, the founda- enhance the overall quality of the early tion for prosocial competence.) childhood program. Children who attend Are classroom jobs used to build prosocial skills and a sense of community? o higher quality family child care and cen- ter-based programs seem to show more (Invite a few children to pitch in and help open boxes that have been deliv- empathy and positive behavior toward ered, or ask a child for help in rearranging the books so that others can find other children (Spinrad & Eisenberg them more easily.) 2009; Romano, Kohen, & Findlay 2010). o Does the physical environment promote cooperation and community partici- This is not surprising, as many of the pation? (Set up interest areas and materials to invite small groups to work features associated with overall pro- gram quality are also likely to support together, share supplies, and interact.) the development of prosocial skills. Are photos displayed that show children working and playing together, and o Such features include professionally that show children as members of their class and of their families? prepared staff who are grounded in early childhood development and pedagogy; Do adults model prosocial behavior by showing empathy and kindness to o - a program environment that encour coworkers as well as to children by using respectful language such as thank ages children to work and play together; ? please and you discipline strategies that encourage col- o - Do teachers specifically, sincerely acknowledge children’s prosocial behav laborative problem-solving; an emphasis on teachers’ knowledge of holistic child ior? (“I see that the two of you have started cleaning up the art area development; and supports for close together. That’s real cooperation!”) adult-child and peer relationships. Do teachers explain the reasons behind rules and help children under- o As suggested earlier, teachers stand the effects of their behavior on others? This kind of inductive discipline can reexamine everyday routines and activities to see if the prosocial seems to encourage children to be kind and helpful. potential of the activities is being fully o not dos, Do classroom rules include positive, prosocial expectations—the tapped (see “Research into Action”). just the don’ts ? (“We are kind to our friends.”) In addition, teachers can implement various specialized curricula and other o Do teachers scaffold children’s efforts to be helpful and kind by giving them resources (see “Examples of Curricula words to use or offering suggestions about what to do? (“Polly, I think Adri- and Other Resources for Supporting ana looks worried about getting a turn with that doll. What if you say ‘It’s OK, Prosocial Development”) that target you will have it in just a few minutes’? Or maybe you can say, ‘Adriana, how positive social behavior and character about if we play together?’”) education. A few cautions, however: such materials should be used to Do teachers prompt children to help them learn prosocial behavior? (“Mary, o strengthen—but not replace—an across- would you show our new friend where to put the blocks when everyone is the-board emphasis on prosocial devel- finished playing with them?”) opment. And when deciding to adopt o Do families receive practical, culturally relevant tips during home visits or at any curriculum or other resource, early childhood professionals should think parent meetings to encourage prosocial behavior at home? (Avoid rewards about whether the resource is consis- for niceness. Instead, set clear expectations and foster warm relationships.) tent with the research on prosocial development as well as whether there is evidence that the resource has been • July 2011 Young Children 81

9 a more prominent role for prosocial outcomes. With these actions by educators, researchers, and policy makers, the early childhood field will demonstrate with a clear, unified voice that it “cares about caring.” References Bierman, K.L., M.M. Torres, C.E. Domitrovich, J.A. Welsh, & S.D. Gest. 2009. “Behavioral and Cognitive Readiness for School: Cross- Domain Associations for Children Attend- ing Head Start.” Social Development 18 (2): 305–23. Tools of the Bodrova, E., & D.J. Leong. 2007. Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education. 2nd ed. Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice Hall. Brownell, C.A., M. Svetlova, & S. Nichols. 2009. “To Share or Not to Share: When Do Tod- dlers Respond to Another’s Needs?” Infancy 14 (1): 117–30. Campbell, S., & C. von Stauffenberg. 2008. “Child Characteristics and Family Processes That Predict Behavioral Readiness for School.” In Disparities in School Readiness: © Marilyn Nolt How Do Families Contribute to Transitions in The Penn State University Family School? Issues Symposia Series, eds. A. Booth & A. Crouter, 225–58. New York: Taylor & Francis effective with children whose cultural prosocial competence a priority for Group/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. or developmental characteristics are early childhood education programs. Copple, C., & S. Bredekamp, eds. 2009. Devel- similar to those with whom the resource Prosocial behavior is as important as, opmentally Appropriate Practice in Early will be used. and also contributes to, outcomes in Childhood Programs Serving Children from other developmental domains. Social 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Birth through Age 8. Research actions. Thought-provoking and emotional outcomes are not always NAEYC. Crick, N.R., J.M. Ostrov, J.E. Burr, C. Cullerton- as it is, the existing prosocial research well represented in state early learning Sen, E.A. Jansen-Yeh, & P. Ralston. 2006. “A is still more focused on looking at chil- guidelines (Scott-Little, Kagan, & Frelow Longitudinal Study of Relational and Phys- dren at home with their families rather 2006), and specific prosocial indicators ical Aggression in Preschool.” Journal of than in early childhood program envi- are even less evident. As states revise Applied Developmental Psychology 27 (3): ronments. In the future, researchers or expand these guidelines, early child- 254–68. must focus their work more closely on hood professionals can point policy Driscoll, K.C., & R.C. Pianta. 2010. “Banking early childhood settings. Such research makers toward research that supports Time in Head Start: Early Efficacy of an Inter - vention Designed to Promote Supportive should analyze the effects of variations Early Educa- Teacher-Child Relationships.” in classroom practices, teacher-child 21 (1): 38–64. tion and Development interactions, and teacher professional Dunlap, G., & D. Powell. 2009. “Promoting development on children’s prosocial Social Behavior of Young Children in Group Children who attend outcomes. Researchers also need to Settings: A Summary of Research.” Road- look more closely at early childhood map to Effective Intervention Practices #3. higher quality family programs’ ability to support prosocial Tampa: University of South Florida, Techni- child care and center- cal Assistance Center on Social Emotional all behavior among children—children Intervention for Young Children. www. who differ in culture and language as based programs seem challengingbehavior.org/do/resources/ well as those children who have disabili- documents/roadmap_3.pdf. ties and developmental delays (Dunlap to show more empathy Eisenberg, N., & R.A. Fabes. 1998. “Prosocial & Powell 2009). Development.” In Handbook of Child Psychol- and positive behavior ogy, Vol. 3, Social, Emotional, and Personal- Policy actions. Finally, policy mak- 5th ed., eds. W. Damon & ity Development. toward other children. ers must focus attention on education N. Eisenberg, 701–78. New York: John Wiley & Sons. standards and public policies that make • July 2011 Young Children 82

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