The Shocking Revelation about Children Soft Skills

The Shocking Revelation about Children Soft Skills

child development children future children skills Feb 11, 2021

This is your guide for understanding the association between Children Soft skills development and their future success as adults. 


Accepting that early characteristics of children soft and social skills can predict prospects of those children in their adulthood remains a bold statement.


In this post, we are looking to examine the “certainty” of this statement through a review of a 2015 study published by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).


To keep things simple, we will be breaking down the study in digestible pieces, but first thing first let us tackle the basics.


1. What are Social & Soft skills?

 A simple search on Wikipedia, and you will end up with the following results:

  • A social skill is any competence facilitating interaction and communication with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways

  • Soft skills are a combination of people skills, social skills & communication skills that enable people to navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills. 


Piggybacking on above definitions, social and soft skills unlike cognitive (hard) skills are not linked to acquired knowledge nor can be measured through academic/IQ tests (see our article on The 4 Soft Skills that Will Help your Children Stand Out Now and in The Future)


This brings us to another question that is related to the assessment of soft and social skills.


2. How can you assess Social & Soft skills

According to the Collins English dictionary soft skills are all qualities that do not dependent on acquired knowledge such as behavioral characteristics, emotion regulation, attention and self-awareness.


This makes it extremely challenging to assess soft skills specially at an early life age, however the study in question went down the bath of assessing those skill through social competence.


Social competence is the ability to handle social interactions successfully, fortunately in 1995 under the the Social Competence Assessment Methodology was created to evaluate the social competence of children using a 5 points system questions.




3. Study Methodology

After going through these different elements related to the basic principles of the topic, we can now explain the research methodology:

  • The study started in the United States during 1991 featuring a sample size of 753 children (58% boys, 42% girls) at kindergarten stage

  • The research was conducted over a period of 19 to 25 years period until children reached adulthood

  • The assessment methodology was done through assessment of teachers for children as part of the study using the Social competence model to assess their Prosocial behaviors and communication skills following 5-point system questionnaires.

  • Adulthood outcomes were visited two decades later assessing areas related to children subjects (adults currently) including:

    • Academic Success

    • Ability to obtain a full-time job

    • Negative interactions with society/following the law

    • dependence on public housing (inability to secure own’s household



4. Findings

The outcomes of the study to this day remains a remarkable indication of the influence of soft and social skills on shaping the future of children.



Key learning: A kindergarten measure of social-emotional skills may be useful for assessing whether children are at risk for deficits in noncognitive skills later in life and, thus, help identify those in need of early intervention.

This demonstrate the relevance of  social-emotional skills in development for personal and public health outcomes. Learn more about children development stages to help identify any needs for early development intervention.




This post is a summary review of “Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness” study by Damon E. Jones PhD, Mark Greenberg PhD, and Max Crowley PhD published by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH)

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