Life is about human relationships. From birth, children interact with their parents and siblings, and as they grow older, begin to develop relationships with other people. Teachers, classmates and friends begin to enter their lives. This social progression is a complementary process that works together with linguistic, emotional and cognitive development to shape a child’s growth. As with any of these, wholesome experiences tend to have positive effects, and negative situations beget just the opposite.

In order to build genuine, quality relationships, it is vital that children have the opportunity to learn and practice social skills. It is important to teach children to conduct themselves in ways that are conducive to developing positive relationships with other people. Some children may find it more difficult than others for a variety of reasons, including cognitive or physical disabilities. Knowledge, dedication and patience are prerequisite virtues that can help adult mentors overcome some or all of these obstacles.

Formative socialization skills begin at a very early age and at a very basic level. A child simply does or says what comes to mind, then evaluates the resulting narrative. These newly acquired skills are fine-tuned through instruction, practice and positive reinforcement. For instance, turn-taking conversation does not simply happen by itself. Being polite requires that concept to be clearly defined. Repairing misunderstanding calls for attention to others’ feelings, distinguishing social cues and problem solving on a more complex playing field.

Some of these skills can be easy to grasp, while others may be subtle and quite elusive. Yet if they are not taught, they are not likely to be learned. Once a child has an understanding of these social ‘building blocks’, he or she can begin to construct greater things – much like you would with Legos. Paying attention combined with being considerate forms a compound skill, laying the foundation for mutual respect, which in turn engenders trust – and the framework continues to mature with each added faculty.

By creating a warm and nurturing environment, The Learning Lodge not only helps children form trusting and healthy relationships with others but also promotes learning in all areas. Designed with development in mind, our classrooms encourage movement, interaction, creative thinking and emphasize positive guidance and concrete experiences. When surrounded by a positive and supportive environment, children are likely to become more socially acclimated, engaged with their peers and motivated to learn.