Abstract. Because early childhood educators have been entrusted with the
responsibility of promoting children S social competence, it is important to
consider the meaning of this concept and its value as an educational objec -
tive. Accordingly, three principal themes are addressed in this article. First,
the construct of social competence is examined with the aim of explicating
assumptions about its locus, its modes of expression or manifestations, and the
conditions under which children s performance can be considered competent.
Second, the value of social competence as an educational objective is
appraised in light of what has been learned, empirically, about its role in chil -
dren s development. Third, findings from research on the precursors of social
competence are reviewed as a means of identifYing resources that may useful
for promoting social competence in young children.