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Lean on Me: Helping Children and Families through Disruptive Change

by Jane Humphries and Kari Rains
May/June 2015
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/lean-on-me--helping-children-and-families-through-disruptive-change/5022387/

Many programs are dealing with change in the lives of the young children in their care. This change is disruptive to a child’s emotional competence and can create stress for early childhood program directors and teachers. What is most ­important for programs to recognize is that these children are experiencing major disruptions in their care by the primary adults outside of the early childhood program. Children are often caught in the chaos of changing living situations, caregiver entry into or exit from their lives, and financial strain. This article focuses on change in the lives of three children in one early childhood program.

Initially, the program director and teachers realized that the consistent and caring early childhood program offered the most stable environment in these children’s lives. The flood of emotions displayed by each child required a sensitive and knowledgeable adult within the classroom to provide support for healthy social and emotional expression.

Communication with each one of the families was paramount. While sometimes difficult and uncomfortable, beginning conversations with the focus on the child was this director’s strategy. Both the director and teachers viewed their roles as collaborative. When advocating for the children, each made a commitment to lend support ...

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