Research shows that resilient children, or children who do well in the face of serious hardship, typically have one thing in common—strong relationships with important adults in their family or community. To learn more about resilience and the role early childhood programs can play, we interviewed Rachel Wagner, national trainer and early childhood mental health specialist for the
Devereux Center for Resilient Children. Her work is part of our Interactions at the Heart of Healing series. You can read a portion of the interview below, or to hear more, you can also listen to the recording of her webinar, Promoting Resilience and Hope in Times of Trauma.
Black children represent only 18% of preschool enrollment but represent 48% of preschool children who receive one or more out of school suspension. In comparison to white children who represent 41% preschool enrollment, but only 28% of such children receiving one or more out of school suspensions. If suspensions were more representative of their percentage of the population, we'd expect to see something like 18% of Black children in the pool of those that have received suspensions. The reason for this is implicit or unconscious bias.
Childhood traumatic stress occurs when violent or dangerous events overwhelm a child’s or adolescent’s ability to cope. The signs of traumatic stress are different in each child and young children often react differently than older children. As children and teachers return to classrooms, many of them may be communicating their traumatic experiences while at home through their behavior. To better understand what that could look like, we reached out to Jimmy Venza, P.h.D. and Amber Ricks, Psy.D. of The Lourie Center for Children’s Social and Emotional Wellness.
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
My kids have been home since March 14th. Sure, not technically home the whole time, we’ve taken many walks and explored just about every park our area has to offer. But they haven’t been to a store, or a friend’s house, or school.
I recognize and admit to having a chip on my shoulder about the field of early childhood education - and, at times, disbelief that others may not see that period of time as the power-packed years in our developmental timeline which can lay the groundwork and set the course for much of the rest of our lives.