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Preschool Social Emotional Activity ESCAPE Function

escape function

How do you teach social emotional skills to preschoolers?

Working on social emotional skills to preschool or special education students can be tough! One way is to engage them in fun, interactive, and reinforcing social emotional activities! I've been working on simple but creative ways to do this, and my latest project is targeting the functions of behavior. (Find a post on crisis management HERE.)

Here's one easy lesson you can plan for addressing the function of ESCAPE.

Function of Behavior Activity: ESCAPE or AVOID

Here's a great social emotional activity designed for preschool or students with more supportive needs in special education, speech and language, or ABA sessions.

I Don't Want To

This is a function-based social skills story or narrative for preschool social emotional learning, simple enough for early childhood special education students. Perfect for preschool social skills for morning meeting or community circle.

I Don't Want To. This activity is one of several function-based social skills stories that teaches what expected behaviors relate to each behavior function, in this case, ESCAPE or AVOID.

DIGITAL: There is no right/wrong on the initial 14 slides; they are instructional in nature, presenting the social hidden rules. The last slides have 5 scenes, each with an expected behavior response and an unexpected behavior response, and the students say if they think the character made the right choice.

Comes in Google™ Slides and BOOM™ Cards, Easel™ activity, and a YouTube™ link giving you tons of options.


Print the story in color to print/laminate to use as a book in class, print the small black-and-white version for students to color and take home, use the 4-page printable lesson as an extension activity, AND print the communication prompts (using several core words). I love this on my lanyard to carry throughout the day.

social skills story behavior

Social Skills Adaptive Book

Find the same story content from the digital versions in a printable book for your class or small group. Great opportunity to re-read or practice the skills of gaining attention in a socially appropriate way! Comes in color to be laminated and reused and also in black-and-white that can be single use. I like this one to give students to color and take home to read!

Social Skills Extension Activity

Find this extra activity to use after the social skills lesson. Identify the expected behaviors (and unexpected!) of escaping or avoiding a person or task. Also one page to reinforce the rules from the social story. Also a page to earn “Wise Walruses” for saying you don't want to do something with your words! Practice the skill!

escape function
core words lanyard

Printable Communication Visuals with Core Words

Bonus! Get 2 pages of printable visuals that work great on a lanyard to practice appropriate ways to say you don't want to do something. Visuals include core words such as “I need” and “no.”

social skills preschool activities

Social Skills Lessons for Preschool Social Narratives and Activities BUNDLE​

Looking for quick social emotional lessons for your preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten students? Wanting to do social skills activities in morning meeting or community circle? Are you doing social groups but need the simplest of content for your special education or speech students? Here is a buttload of social lessons for you! Each SEL lesson here is designed to be short (5-10 minutes) and then there are printable extension activities. These are in a simple format with limited distractions for your youngest students or those who need the most support. I'm continuing to add new lessons almost weekly, designed by the needs of the students I know!​

How do you manage preschool behavior?

Make it fun! This activity is just one idea. You can find lots more ideas like this at my TpT store. 

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