Developing Self

Social and Emotional Learning and Development

Relationships with Adults and Peers

Goal 1: Children develop healthy positive relationships with adults and peers

By the end of each age group or grade level, most children will have met prior age group or grade level standards in this domain.

Infants Through Older Toddlers


(0-12 Months)

  1. Respond to adult through actions or vocalization e.g., repeat ‘ooo’ or ‘baba from adult
  2. Engage in simple back and forth (1-2) playful interactions with adults e.g., cooing, peek-a-boo, ball play
  3. Show enjoyment in interaction with other children e.g., smiling, reaching out, giggling
  4. May cry when another child cries

Young Toddlers

(9-18 Months)

  1. React to familiar and unfamiliar adults e.g., reaching out to mother, hiding behind dad’s legs
  2. Engage in more complex back and forth playful interactions with others e.g., hide n seek, finger-plays
  3. Demonstrate simple prosocial behavior e.g., waving goodbye, saying “thank you”, hugging
  4. Show sadness or concern when another child is crying or upset (e.g., may seek adult help or offer blanket, food or soft toy)

Older Toddlers

(18-36 Months)

  1. Develop trust and interacts comfortably with familiar adults
  2. Take turns during simple games and in conversation
  3. Demonstrate increased interest as well as frustration with other children
  4. Begin to imitate roles and relationship through play e.g., feeding baby doll, driving daddy’s car, dancing like a ballerina
  5. Use words in play with peers e.g., giving simple direction
  6. Use words in interaction with adults e.g., “I’ll be the mommy you be the baby”
  7. Use words or gestures to express empathy toward another child or adult who is hurt or crying (e.g., “are you ok?”, “don’t cry”, or helps to pick up spilled crackers)
Younger Preschoolers Through Kindergartners

Younger Preschoolers

(36-48 months)

  1. Play with other children sharing objects, talking back and forth for several minutes
  2. Establish secure and trusting relationships with familiar adults
  3. Begin to respect the rights of others
  4. Communicate with familiar adults and accepts some guidance and direction
  5. Cooperate with others during play and in daily routines
  6. Develops friendships with peers
  7. Uses socially appropriate behavior with peers and adults

Older Preschoolers

(48-60 months)

  1. Play and cooperate with other children sharing objects, conversations, and ideas
  2. Respect the rights of others recognizing their feelings and responding with courtesy and kindness
  3. Accept guidance and direction from familiar adults and seeks their support when needed
  4. Suggest solutions to social problems


Builds Trust with Adult

  1. Solicit help from adults to accomplish challenging tasks
  2. Respond to and question adult directives for greater understanding
  3. Engage in reciprocal conversation with familiar adults
  4. Build trust with adults; engages with trusted adults as resource and to share mutual interests

Developing Social Skills

  1. Initiate, join and sustain positive interactions with small group of 2 -3 children
  2. Engage in cooperative learning activities to complete a task
  3. Play cooperatively with 3 or 4 others for sustained periods of time
  4. Express themselves in new settings
  5. Engage in games and activities that require adherence to rules
  6. Initiate sharing and turn taking when appropriate
  7. Respect others’ differences in comparison to self
  8. Recognize positive qualities in others
  9. Invite others to join a group
  10. Identify friends on the basis of proximity and frequency of interaction
First Graders Through Third Graders

First Graders

  1. Interact cooperatively in groups of 4-5 children
  2. Identify ways to work and play well with peers
  3. Demonstrate positive social entry skills with peers and adults
  4. Respect the feelings, rights and belongings of others
  5. Show increasing ability to constructively resolve conflicts with peers
  6. Cooperate in small and large group activities

Second Graders

  1. Identify and establish positive relationships with peers and adults
  2. Identify the positive characteristics of friendship
  3. Apply social norms to connect
  4. Recognize a connection between personal behavior and social communication
  5. Listen to others and begin to understand their perspective
  6. Advocate for self and others
  7. Speak up about an injustice they see and take action with peers
  8. Consider the best approach to a problem before reacting

Third Graders

  1. Recognize that social norms and safety considerations guide behavior
  2. Recognize there are differences in skill and ability among peers
  3. Discriminate different points of view among peers and adults
  4. Demonstrate respect for personal space and belongings
  5. Help themselves and others make socially acceptable choices and responsible decisions
  6. Describe appropriate responses to harassment, bullying intimidations and abuse
  7. Analyze more complex problems to help identify the type of solution needed
  8. Identify friends based on personalities rather than liking the same toys/activities
  9. Alternate between the roles of leader and follower in order to sustain play

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

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