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.
Teachers, like all of us, have a limited bank of time and attention. So, it should come as no surprise if they sometimes lose focus on what matters most for kids: interactions.
Teachers don’t lose focus because they don’t want to have positive interactions with children. I’ve yet to meet a teacher who didn’t want to be a positive force in kids’ lives.
But think about the teachers you know. How do they spend their time? How many different things are they asked to attend to in the classroom? Limited time and an excess of competing demands are real barriers for the teachers you support.
To talk about CLASS, you have to start with kids. Beginning anywhere else just doesn’t capture what’s at the heart of CLASS: interactions that help children grow and improve their outcomes.
That’s why Teachstone’s newest teacher PD series in myTeachstone is organized around teacher’s real experiences with children. Created with the learning experts at Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that brought you Sesame Street, the courses open by asking teachers to think about a specific interaction with a child:
Long before my time developing online professional development for teachers, in my first year of teaching middle school, I received a gift I would never get again. My principal gave me one day and three rules: