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EARLY MAGIC: HOW IMPORTANT ADULTS WORK TOGETHER TO HELP INFANTS AND TODDLERS LEARN AND GROW ERIKA LONDON BOCKNEK, PHD, LMFT, IMHE-IV (R/F) COALITION OF.

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Presentation on theme: "EARLY MAGIC: HOW IMPORTANT ADULTS WORK TOGETHER TO HELP INFANTS AND TODDLERS LEARN AND GROW ERIKA LONDON BOCKNEK, PHD, LMFT, IMHE-IV (R/F) COALITION OF."— Presentation transcript:

1 EARLY MAGIC: HOW IMPORTANT ADULTS WORK TOGETHER TO HELP INFANTS AND TODDLERS LEARN AND GROW ERIKA LONDON BOCKNEK, PHD, LMFT, IMHE-IV (R/F) COALITION OF INFANT/TODDLER EDUCATORS ISELIN, NJ APRIL 4, 2014

2 RESILIENCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD “Ordinary Magic” Resilience does not require something rare or special Masten, 2001

3 PRESENTATION OVERVIEW Social Emotional Development in the Classroom… Why does it matter? How does it work?

4 EARLY CONTEXTS OF RISK AND RESILIENCE What happens during the first months and years of life matters a lot, not because this period of development provides an indelible blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows. (p. 5) Shonkoff & Phillips (2000), From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

5 SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Making friends. Showing anger in a healthy way. Figuring out conflicts peacefully. Taking care of someone who has been hurt. Waiting patiently. Following rules. Enjoying the company of others. Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

6 SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Emotion Regulation refers to changes associated with activated emotions; can refer to emotions as regulated or regulating. Cole, Martin, Dennis, 2004

7 IMPLICATIONS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PRACTITIONERS Poor emotion regulation is well associated with poverty and concomitant stressors, suggesting that children from low- income families are at particular risk and, furthermore, that emotion regulation and associated parenting practices may be key mediators of demographic risk and poor outcomes 34% of children in New Jersey live in “low-income” families (200% of the poverty level). 28% of children in New Jersey live in households where no parent has year-round, full-time employment. Brophy-Herb, Farber, Bocknek, Stansbury, & McKelvey, 2013; Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012

8 IMPLICATIONS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD PRACTITIONERS Early educators report that one of their biggest challenges is supporting young children who have problem behavior beyond what might be expected (Buscemi et al. 1995; Hemmeter, Corso, & Cheatham 2005). A recent study suggests that 20% of kindergarten teachers view at least half of their students as lacking age-appropriate social-emotional skills (Domitrovich, Cortes, & Greenberg, 2007).

9 CONTRIBUTORS TO “BEHAVIORAL CHALLENGES” Parenting and family transitions and traits SENSORY INPUT Miscuing CONFUSION Physiology Temperament Developmental range SHAME Trauma

10 When children regulate emotions, feelings, and sensory input (“the wiggles and the giggles”), they are calm and prepared to learn!

11 SUPPORTING SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: HOW DOES IT WORK?

12 A RELATIONSHIP- BASED MODEL Constructive, caring relationships are fundamental to the human experience. Healthy early relationships are fundamental to later ability to love and learn. A responsive adult is sensitive and caring. Wittmer & Petersen, 2013

13 Contribute to secure relationships between children and adults Provide models of positive, gentle, behavior Are linked with the ability to interact positively with peers Cause teachers to feel enjoyed and appreciated TEACHER-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

14 THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS… Infants and toddlers model the self-regulation skills of teachers and caregivers Infants and toddlers learn to translate the soothing touch and warm voice of caring adults into an internal self-concept and self –regulation. Infants and toddlers have opportunities to practice important coping skills and resolve social problems.

15 Dear Teacher of Mine,, You looked a little tired and discouraged when the parents were coming to pick all of us up today. Then, when that one dad said, “Did they learn anything today or did they just play?” I thought you’d just about had it. I’m writing to cheer you up and tell you that I’m learning lots because you help us play… Thank goodness you know I have to play to learn. For example, remember today how every time you’d kneel down and open up your arms, I’d run to you for a big hug? We were playing a game of course and we’d both laugh—but the act of running was learning for me. Thanks to your helping me play, I’m learning that it’s good to be curious, it’s good to explore and learn and understand. I get the feeling you think my play is pretty valuable. My play is all my own idea, you know. You must think that my ideas are pretty valuable, too. Hey, that must mean you value me, too... See you tomorrow! A Toddler in Child Care Wittmer & Peterson, 2014

16 STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Support the relationship between a child and his family. Follow the child’s lead. Be attuned to children’s cues. Be available both emotionally and physically. Keep children safe and healthy. Be a good role model. Appreciate developmental differences. Wittmer & Peterson, 2014 Be curious about culture and context. Respond with comfort and guidance.

17 A MIGHTY TOOLBOX Friendships are scaffolded. Children learn to use their developing competencies to cope. Materials are accessible to children. Children have opportunities throughout the day to practice strengths and challenges. Teachers are self-reflective. There’s a calm-down center Children learn to name emotions. Wittmer & Peterson, 2014 Spaces are comfortable. Children have choices, chances, power.

18 WHAT WORKS IN YOUR CLASSROOM? THINK ABOUT DEVELOPMENT!

19 It was ‘group time’ before the morning snack. The caregiver was leading all 10 toddlers in a movement activity. The songs and dances were complex and the children were not paying attention. The second caregiver announced that the snack was ready, at which point the first caregiver stopped in the middle of a song, directed the children to sit down, and began calling the children’s names one by one to tell them they could move to the tables and sit down for a snack. Eventually she turned to Nathan and said, ‘Well, Nathan isn’t sitting on his carpet square, so I can can’t call him to the table.’ POWER AND THE BODY Continued…. Based on Leavitt, R. L. (1994). Power and emotion in infant-toddler day care. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

20 She went on calling the names of other children who were seated. After all the other toddlers had been called, the caregiver said, ‘Nathan still isnt’ sitting on his carpet square. Nathan, I can’t call you unless you’re sitting down.’ Nathan did not move; he seemed distracted by the activity at the snack tables. The caregiver went over to him and physically manipulated him into a sitting position onto a carpet square. She then said, ‘Nathan, you can go sit at the table now.’ Nathan complied. POWER AND THE BODY Based on Leavitt, R. L. (1994). Power and emotion in infant-toddler day care. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

21 Amber (10 months) was sitting in the high chair and did not appear happy. The caregiver was trying to feed her, offering different choices to find one that Amber would eat. Amber refused everything. The caregiver talked to her, ‘What’s wrong Amber? Aren’t you hungry today?’ Amber started to cry and throw food off her tray. The caregiver finally said, ‘Okay, Amber, I’ll pick you up, is that what you want?’ As the caregiver picked her up, Amber’s crying slowed, and then stopped. She put her arms around the caregiver’s neck and her head on her should. The caregiver rubbed Amber’s back and talked to her softly. EMPOWERMENT AND RECIPROCITY Based on Leavitt, R. L. (1994). Power and emotion in infant-toddler day care. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

22 QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION


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