Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 199–206 | Cite as

Exploring Adults’ Emotional Intelligence and Knowledge of Young Children’s Social-Emotional Competence: A Pilot Study

  • Gail E. WaltonEmail author
  • David R. Hibbard


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate relationships between adults’ emotional intelligence and knowledge of children’s social-emotional competence (SEC). A secondary purpose was to explore relationships between child care workers’ education, time spent working in child care, and their knowledge of children’s social-emotional competence. Participants included adult male and female child care workers (n = 95) as well as adults who were not employed in child care (n = 76). Participants were administered a self report emotional intelligence scale and an instrument that assessed their knowledge of children’s SEC. Findings revealed a significant positive relationship between emotional intelligence and knowledge of children’s SEC for all participants. For child care workers, level of education was not related to knowledge of children’s SEC, and time spent working in child care was significantly negatively related to knowledge of children’s SEC. Emotional intelligence training is implicated as a way to help early childhood educators become more effective at fostering children’s emotional development.


Teacher Early childhood education Emotional development Emotional intelligence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child Development Department, College of Behavioral and Social SciencesCalifornia State University, ChicoChicoUSA
  2. 2.Psychology Department, College of Behavioral and Social SciencesCalifornia State University, ChicoChicoUSA

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