Social-Emotional Challenges

Kindergarten Cafe

Welcome to Kindergarten Cafe - your home for teaching ideas, activities, and strategies across all content areas! I am Zeba McGibbon and I love creating resources for teachers and sharing my teaching experience with others. Kindergarten Cafe is aimed for kindergarten, but teachers of Preschool-First grade can find resources here for their students! I love to connect with other teachers so please reach out and say hello!

Recent Blog Posts

4 Simple Ways to Include Dramatic Play At Home

Dramatic play is a staple of the early childhood classroom and purposeful play. Dramatic play can easily be done at home, as...

5 Favorite Winter Activities

Not sure about you, but winter is my favorite time of year. I get so excited with the change of seasons and...

New Year, New Zoom Activities

If you have been remote teaching like me, you might be bored of the same zoom activities over and over again. Or,...

Reflecting on Teaching in 2020

This summer, I wrote about the crisis of education and how educators everywhere were feeling. I still can’t believe the number of...

Are children falling behind?

It’s all over the news and all over Facebook. It’s all I hear at parent-teacher conferences. “Our children are falling behind.” “We...

I love teaching social-emotional skills to my students – it’s probably the content I am most passionate about. I have divided up the year into 11 different social emotional themes, about one focus per month.  They can be done in any order, but the order that I generally follow (unless I decide my students need a particular skill sooner) is:

Why challenges?

After reflecting on my curriculum after a year of use, I realized that I wanted a way to praise my students for using the specific skills that I have taught them. I was inspired when I saw Avery had colorful round stickers I could print on, and I created stickers for each social-emotional unit! Then I created a larger printable challenge to showcase in the room so the students knew what social-emotional skill we were focusing on that week.

I like it because it really breaks the larger theme into 2 to 4 manageable skills to work on. For example, in the social-emotional unit of independence, the stickers reward for “I tried something on my own” and “I asked three before me”. I also have included the larger theme as a reward for some of the themes, for example, “I showed cooperation”. If I give out this reward, I make sure to say what it is they did to show cooperation. For example, “You said, ‘Is it ok if we try the game this way?’ and made sure your friends agreed before playing that way. That shows cooperation!”

Tips for implementing

The first tip I have is to print the challenges and stickers all at the start of the year, so they are ready for use during the year and you don’t have to worry about it. If you print all of the challenges, you will need 4 packs of Avery stickers. If you only pick and choose the challenges you want to include, you can easily narrow it down to 2 packs. (1 pack includes 10 pages, and there are 11 themes included, with multiple challenges per theme.)

Have a place you can keep the stickers and the challenge poster in a place where any adult and student can see it. You want all the adults that come in the room to be able to use the stickers and reinforce the social-emotional skills. Let all the adults that regularly work in the room know about this system so they are comfortable using it too.

I keep a list of names next to the stickers so that I can check off when a student gets a sticker. I don’t want anyone to feel left out or that they never earn a sticker.


I love these social-emotional sticker challenges because, not only do they reward the students for the specific social-emotional skills that we want to see, but also it helps me to remember the focus for the week. I want to make sure to positively praise my students for the skills they use and in the craziness of the day, I can forget to do that. These stickers help me stay focused on what to look for and praise throughout the day.

Have you tried these before? How have they worked with your students?

These challenges are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you are interested.

Want to learn more about my social-emotional curriculum? Check out these helpful social-emotional blog posts on cooperation and suggested read alouds!

related posts


Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.