If you're responsible for the care and education of very young children (birth-8) in any way, you are shaping the future.
What happens to a child during the first few years sets the stage for the rest of their lives. Especially as far as emotions and emotional intelligence go. New brain research is showing us more about that crucial time in development every day. (Banaji, Gelman 2013)
In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second. After this period of rapid proliferation, connections are reduced through a process called pruning, which allows brain circuits to become more efficient. In light of these findings, focussing on early childhood only makes sense. -Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University-
Since it only makes sense to focus on early childhood, it only makes sense to focus on relationships.
Early childhood professionals and parents already know this. So what now? The pandemic has made it clear we need to do something differently.
Here's one 1 idea that might help.
It's time to stop sacrificing ourselves for the children. Those who do the actual care and form those relationships need more respect and support in order to help the children we serve.
Here's a beautiful example of the type of communication circle a child needs to become a trusting, responsive individual who can control their emotions appropriately. This "circle of communication" was first identified by Dr. Stanley Grenspan in 1989.
Think about what was necessary for this Dad to engage with his baby in this way. His own mental health is probably the most important deciding factor. Also the opportunity for relaxed time and the attitude of love and learning that's obvious as we watch them interact.
Children need us to be mentally and physically ready to engage them in all types of learning.
They need to feel loved and listened to.
Early childhood educators need to be loved and listened to also when we insist they we are paid at least the same rate as kindergarten teachers.
In order to do this, we'll have to refuse to back down until our government does what others in developed countries do and pays a certain percentage of high-quality childcare costs for families. Then that revenue could be directed into providing better wages for childcare professionals.
At early childhood rocks!, a non-profit dedicated to providing change through early childhood education, we promote better early childhood wages. We also promote non-violent communication, antibias and antibully experiences for all children and adults.
We care about you because you care about them!
Join our free community today and you'll immediately get our 22-page guide on How To Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling Or Time-Outs. It's a keeper and you can share it with other providers and parents. It won't be free forever so don't wait! (49.00 value)
Whether you're a parent, teacher, nurse, grandparent, or another type of provider, you have to realize that it's important we band together in order to make a positive change in society. Let's stick together and show the world how much we matter. We don't want to see what happens if we don't!
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human dev from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI and is the founder of early childhood rocks, a non-profit org dedicated to creating change through early childhood education.
Banaji, Mahzarin R., and Susan A. Gelman. Navigating the Social World What Infants, Children, and Other Species Can Teach Us. Oxford University Press, 2014.
“Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 4 Dec. 2017, https://developingchild.harvard.edu/.
Greenspan, Stanley I., and Nancy Breslau Lewis. Building Healthy Minds: The Six Experiences That Create Intelligence and Emotional Growth in Babies and Young Children. Perseus Pub., 2000.