As stressors faced by children in poverty–including exposure to trauma, mental health concerns or family loss–continue to increase, it is essential that these children have the social-emotional support they need to be able to learn.
To highlight this important issue, the Ounce of Prevention Fund hosted its Winter Educational Seminar February 24, an annual opportunity to educate donors, partners and early childhood champions on a topic around early childhood learning.
At this year’s seminar, Ounce speakers Brenda Eiland-Williford, Director, Program and Curricula; Barbara Abel, Birth-to-Five Curriculum Specialist and Educare Infant Toddler teacher Claudia Cattage, discussed how early childhood educators can help reduce the effects of these stressors–and improve each child’s capacity to learn–by constructing safe and engaging environments.
“The key to children’s learning begins with meaningful engagement with the people and environment around them,” Abel said. “You have to take into account the individual child, community and cultural context you are serving and take an approach to curriculum that meets all developmental needs.”
The event also featured guest speaker Anne G. Studzinski, managing director of the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition. Studzinski shared how the effects of environmental stressors on a child’s development can be reduced with increased protective factors, such as social connections and parent support.