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All Feelings are Welcome

by The Greta Horwitz Center at Warren Village, Denver, Colorado
May/June 2016
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/all-feelings-are-welcome/5022940/

Children are in the outdoor classroom playing a made-up game they call ‘owies.’ They are role-playing and practicing nurturing. They gather around the caring adult, and with dot painters make ‘owies’ on her and each other. Then they pretend to put band-aids on. Sometimes kisses make the ‘owies’ better; but sometimes children role-play crying for a few minutes as they accept comforting. While the cries are pretend, the great care and concern expressed by the children and for the children is real and deep. One child gives the nurturing adult an ‘owie’ then says, “You scared?” “No,” she replies, “because you are with me.”

This scene happened recently at the Greta Horwitz Learning Center at Warren Village, a program in Denver, Colorado, supporting families faced with homelessness. While the children in this program are coping with one type of stressful situation, families everywhere deal with many challenges on a regular basis. Often center directors and teachers are unaware of the details of children’s lives, so they may not realize the need for intentional support as ­children practice strengthening their innate resiliency. For example, families living in shelters may not feel comfortable sharing that information, so ­children’s behavior ...

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