"Many early childhood educators feel they are supposed to check their emotions at the door and enter the classroom ready to receive the children in their care unencumbered by their own emotional needs. But, can we expect early childhood teachers to attune to the emotional needs of young children if they do not attune to their own emotional needs first?" write Elita Amini Virmani, Holly Hatton-Bowers, and Ayumi Nagase. They continue, "We suggest that identifying emotional needs, both of the teacher and the children, is essential for addressing young children’s challenging behaviors. We also provide some helpful ways to identify emotions, with a key focus on how teachers' perceptions of challenging behaviors are often influenced by their own emotions, as well as the child’s." So begins the article at the core of the newest Exchange Reflections, "Attuning to Emotional Needs."
They pose several reflective questions as a guide, including:
The authors conclude, "It is only…in the process of cultivating a compassionate understanding of and curiosity about our own feelings, biases, and perceptions, as well as children’s behavior, that the challenging behavior no longer feels challenging."
Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a Making Commitments idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.
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