I came across this quote on social media last weekend and it really spoke to me. These past two months of our children’s education have looked nothing like they have before. In my position as Early Childhood Supervisor with SYB, one of my current tasks has been reaching out to Pre-Kindergarten families in our district to get a better understanding of the social and emotional health of our littlest learners. Each conversation with parents and caregivers sounds similar to the last (with personal variations, of course): Virtual learning has been difficult; we’re sharing devices; there is so much to manage with work and homeschooling; my child would rather be in school; he/she is struggling to stay focused; we are all overwhelmed; I hope this ends soon; we’re doing the best we can.
I have done my best in these conversations to offer support and any services that may be needed. I have empathized with parents, laughed with them and became emotional from the sound(s) of hardship in their voices. During these challenging times, I have tried to emphasize what I believe is most important right now:
Mental health before academic skills
Growth over grade point average
Inner peace over external pressure
Rachel Macy Stafford writes in a recent post on The Hands Free Revolution Facebook page:
“The diversion from the expected path has left us with a lot of unanswered questions about the future, but it has also offered us the chance to see what we couldn’t before. We see the wings of resilience and purpose that don’t always have a chance to expand in restricted quarters.”
I am moved by her question above: “If unhindered by walls, syllabuses, rigid paths, unjust systems, and outdated measures, how might our children teach themselves to fly?”
Let us continue to remember the importance of patience, grace, balance and self-care. Do what you can at home, but try not to push yourself or your child(ren) too hard. Social-emotional development is just as important as academic development. If our children are not in a good place emotionally, the academic growth will be harder to come by. So, take it slow, take breaks, get up and move, remind yourself this is only temporary, reach out to supports that you have, know that you are not alone and above all else—work to make your mental and emotional health a priority. To help young children with emotional regulation and strong emotions, take a look at some of the resources below.
The Most Important Skills We Teach in the Early Years Aren’t Academics: Self-Regulation and Social-Emotional Activities.
Behavior Related Stories: How to Calm My Body (English, Spanish, French and Turkish)
Good luck and take good care of yourselves and your families.
Previous HomeGrown Entries
Week 1 – Monitoring your child’s socio-emotional health during this time.
Week 2 – Learning how to stay patient as a parent is always a work in progress.
Week 3 – Get Creative Stimulating Your Child’s Creativity
Week 4 – Dance in the Rain
Week 5 – Talking with Children About Race
Week 6 – Children and Protests
Week 7- Taking What Summer Gives
Week 8 – Navigating the New Normal
Week 9 – Getting Ready for School
Week 10 – Taking Your Child’s Emotional State into Account
Week 11- New Year, New Routines
Week 12 – Mental Health Over Everything