Lego Education: Social and Emotional Development in Preschoolers

By  USDR

Today at the NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo, LEGO® Education announced Build Me “Emotions”, a tool for preschoolers aimed at teaching students to recognize and understand emotions, develop social skills and explore physical characteristics. Social and emotional learning is one of the most important predictors of future success, as understanding emotions and social skills translates into not only kindergarten preparedness, but also a students’ readiness for their entire educational and professional career. This classroom resource teaches preschoolers to recognize and understand both their own and others’ emotions using different patterns, colors, and emotional characteristics captured in LEGO bricks, such as happy, sad or silly. This serves as a foundation for additional social skills, including teamwork and collaboration that are essential for  kindergarten-readiness.

“Social emotion learning is critical for early childhood development. In many cases, a student’s first introduction to learning the basics of sense of self, collaboration and an understanding of their own feelings occurs within their preschool classroom,” said Lisbeth Hattens, Senior Educational Content Developer, LEGO Education. “Build Me “Emotions” provides an engaging, hands-on set that is easy for teachers to implement and a fun way to teach children these crucial skills that will provide a strong foundation for other essential social  skills.”

Preschoolers explore emotional characteristics by constructing themselves or building a group of family or friends and then describing the emotion, the LEGO® brick expresses, resulting in answers such as “he’s angry because he wants to play a game” or “It’s a silly face. His tongue is sticking out and his eyes are funny.” As the sets are large, collaboration on tasks is highly encouraged to teach preschoolers the effectiveness of teamwork to build on their social skills. With the option to build arms, legs, pants, shirts, and even hats, students explore similarities and differences among themselves using the LEGO® bricks through facial expressions, clothing, and features, enhancing their social emotional learning. This task also helps preschoolers with creative problem solving, allowing students to decipher emotional characteristics and determine which feeling is best suited for that particular character. Learning social skills and problem solving at this young age help ensure students are prepared for kindergarten and  beyond.

Build Me “Emotions” also come with an activity card and online activity video to help teachers with lesson ideas that incorporate the set. A classroom set is available for $69.95USD, is available for pre-sale, and will ship in January  2016.

This week at NAEYC, a Build Me “Emotions” model will be by Exhibit Hall WA4 entrance and Build Me masks will be available to all attendees. Stop by to take a picture with the Build Me model in your mask to be entered to win a Build Me Set for your classroom! In addition, LEGO Education will be displaying the product at their booth,  #330.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.