Importance of relationships May 03 2021
2020 is a year that reminds us of the importance of relationships. Like each individual, each relationship is unique. In the first video, listen to Dr. Ann Masten, a leading expert in resilience research from the Child Development Institute at the University of Minnesota, highlight individual differences in terms of how people react to stress. Although interviewed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, her messages are especially relevant at this time.
The second video shows a mother playing with her baby, then soothing her to sleep. Just as it is important for parents to provide nurturing and responsive care - to pick up on their babies’ cues and offer support - relationships are important to people of all ages. Think about people in your family or community. What are some creative and innovative ways people are using to keep connected and be supportive during times of social distancing?
Supporting children in stressful times December 08 2020
As people around the world take extreme measures to cope in these unprecedented times, parents, caregivers, and teachers focus on how to ensure that the children “weather the storm”. The messages in the SECD videos below provide an opportunity for us to reflect on the adult’s role in helping children to manage through this global crisis. In the first video, the late Alan Mirabelli, former Executive Director of the Vanier Institute of the Family, reminds us of the lesson from the Maasai culture to think about children’s well-being as we make decisions for our communities. Second, Megan Gunnar, of the University of Minnesota, explains that children can handle challenging stressors when protected by a supportive caregiver.
On this topic, here is a concise and informative tool from the World Health Organization - Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
Caregiving practicies - baby wraps & mossbags December 17 2019
Early development is shaped by minute-by-minute, day-by-day sensory input: the seeing, tasting, touching and being touched, the sounds and smells of daily life. Much of this happens through daily caregiving routines.
There is a wide variety of caregiving practices around the world, often rooted in cultural traditions and beliefs. In some North American Indigenous communities adults used moss bags and cradleboards so that a baby could be placed on a mother’s back, carried in a parent’s arms, or propped up near family members. In Africa, baby wraps were used by adults, usually mothers, to wrap and carry a baby in order to keep the baby close throughout the day. Many parents and communities still honour and promote these traditions.
The ‘baby wraps’ video is a brief collage of mothers in Mozambique, carrying and interacting with their closely wrapped babies. In the second video, Audrey Fourre, a Family Literacy Facilitator with the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, talks about moss bags and their important role in caregiving.
What do you see as the functions or benefits of such practices? Are there similar practices in your family or community? How can you value and respect these and other practices that support the caregiver-child relationship that is so crucial to early development?
Reflective Practice June 18 2019
Do you use reflective practice in your interactions or work with children? Do you carefully observe children, listen to what they are saying, and pay attention to what they are doing? Do you take time to marvel in what you notice and thoughtfully consider what you can say or do in response? Do you gather documentation to study and then share with children and parents? You might feel like you are constantly thinking, studying, collecting, arranging…..
The SECD (North American Edition) includes a new section on reflective practice. Researchers and practitioners share thoughts and insights that can enhance your reflective practice with children. The videos below are just two of many inspiring videos in the updated Communicating and Learning (CL) module.
Deb Curtis is a renowned expert in the field who has written numerous books and articles on this and other topics. She inspires many with her practical tips and tools about observing and documenting, and how to use loose parts to create invitations for children. She reminds practitioners to slow down, pause and marvel. In the first video below, listen to her define reflective practice and explain how she applies it to her work with young children.
Christine McLean is an Assistant Professor at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax Nova Scotia. In the second video below she describes the importance of reflection before, during and after….a perspective that is thought-provoking and worth reflecting upon! In the CL module, McLean also describes a research project on pedagogical documentation and how to encourage children to be reflective about their learning.
Do these videos affirm your current practice? Or perhaps they inspire you to make a change or try something new. What steps can you take to ensure that reflection is part of your professional practice with young children?