A growing body of evidence shows that emotional development begins early in life and is a critical aspect of the development of a child's overall brain architecture, with enormous consequences over the course of a lifetime. A child's emotional well-being and social competence provide a strong foundation for emerging cognitive abilities, and together they are the bricks and mortar that comprise the foundation of human development.
From birth, children rapidly develop their abilities to experience and express different emotions as well as their capacity to cope with and manage a variety of feelings. The development of these capabilities occurs at the same time as a wide range of highly visible skills in mobility (motor control), thinking (cognition), and communication (language). Yet, social-emotional development often receives relatively less recognition as a core emerging capacity in the early childhood years. The foundations of social competence developed in the first five years are linked to emotional well-being and affect a child's later ability to functionally adapt in school and to form successful relationships throughout life.