Social-emotional skills are intentionally taught to toddlers and preschoolers through the Forest Friends integrated character education book series from Experience Early Learning. One storybook is featured each month in the Experience Toddler and Experience Preschool curriculum.
Importance of Social-Emotional Health
Social and emotional development refers to a child’s ability to identify feelings, self-regulate and build relationships. High-quality relationships correlate to positive outcomes for young children. Children’s social and emotional health affects their overall development and learning. At the root of all learning, is a trusting and loving relationship. All areas of development are interrelated so social-emotional health affects all other learning. When children have strong social-emotional health, they demonstrate higher self-esteem, more initiative, and take risks to pursue their curiosity.
The Experience Early Learning Framework
The Experience Early Learning Framework includes four social-emotional development skills including Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Attention and Persistence and Social Relationships.
Not only does the Forest Friends program focus on social-emotional skills, but it also highlights Community and Culture. Children can learn to contribute to the community, embrace diversity and have respect for all.
Learning happens over time through meaningful experiences with our research-based curriculum. As children participate in intentional learning experiences, we can support them as educators to strengthen their social-emotional skills. Download our Developmental Continuum of Skills.
Who Are the Forest Friends?
Meet the Forest Friends! These cuties are each connected with a friend trait. Each story will have a few of these friends who help each other or learn to work together.
The Character Traits
It can be difficult to put into words what we want children to learn about a trait. The Forest Friends stories make the message simple for young children and adults to understand!
- Patience – learning to wait for what we want and having self-control.
- Resourcefulness – using whatever you have to accomplish your goals.
- Kindness – helping and encouraging others by putting their feelings first.
- Honesty – telling the truth even when no one is watching.
- Fairness – sharing so that everyone has what they need.
- Brave – having the confidence to stand up for what is right and to always do your best even when it’s scary is being brave.
- Responsible- take care of yourself and be a good steward of your things and the world around you.
- Generosity – give your best without expecting anything in return.
- Respect – include everyone and show you value who they are by listening and speaking with kindness.
Each month, one week of toddler lessons focus on friendship and character skills with games, art, shape mats, stickers, music and more.
Preschoolers make Forest Friend puppets and retell the story.
Listen & Draw activities give preschoolers a chance to dictate their own story about the character trait after listening to the book.
Children adore the Forest Friend characters and stories! So you will you! The Forest Friends program is an effective way to incorporate social emotional development consistently.
Listen to Bee Respectful, a story about respecting others.
More Ways to Learn
Experience Curriculum also offers the Forest Friend stories as an audio book, either on the Experience Toddler CD or through a streaming service.
Four of the Forest Friends books are now available on VOOKS.