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For professionals working in child-serving settings, as well as for the parents/families of those they serve.

  • Dialogue around early childhood education, social-emotional health and resilience
  • Success stories from programs and centers utilizing the DECA Program suite of resources
  • Tips and guidance from our team of early childhood specialists
  • News on training and resource development, and more!

Tools and Resources to Help Meet Head Start Performance Standards

The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) Program for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers is designed specifically to screen, assess, and strengthen children’s social and emotional competencies. The core of the program is the DECA, a nationally standardized, strength-based, reliable, and valid measure of social and emotional competencies in children from four weeks of age through five years old (up to sixth birthday). Both parents and teachers can complete the DECA, and research-based strategies are used to guide the planning process for both home and school.

Since the first publication of the DECA in 1999, Head Start programs across the country have used the DECA Program resources to meet several key Head Start Performance Standards and, ultimately, to improve the quality of services. Here are those resources, along with the performance standards they can help you meet…

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Using Activities, Routines, and Experiences to Promote Resilience

Activities are the intentional, planned events designed to engage children and support learning. They might include the whole group, a small group of four to five children, or one or two children. Other learning experiences are often unplanned and can be child-initiated or teachable moments. Teachable moments are spontaneous events that provide opportunities to introduce new ideas, build on children’s interests, and expand children’s understanding. When teachers intentionally plan activities and engage in experiences with children, they are helping them build a strong foundation for learning. Every interaction with a child is an opportunity to nurture their unique characteristics, culture, and development.

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Involved and Engaged! Families are Part of the Program

Connecting with families reflects the many ways that caregivers/teachers partner hand-in-hand with families and their infants, toddlers, and/or preschool-age children. Family members are the most important people in young children’s lives, and caregivers/teachers need to talk to, listen to, and learn about families to build individualized support and continuity of care. These partnerships are critical to providing the best care for young children and for fostering a sense of safety and attachment. When early care and education providers and families work together to share information, plan together, and support the child’s abilities, needs, interests and progress, children are more likely to succeed in school and in life.

Here are some tips for involving and engaging with the families of young children in your care…

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Resilient Leadership Strategies

If you’ve been following along our mini blog series focused on resilient leadership, you now know the behaviors of a resilient leader, and you know what being a resilient leader can do for your teams. Hopefully you have already completed a Devereux Resilient Leadership Survey (DERLS), and if not, we encourage you to do so now!

What comes after completing a DERLS? First, reflect on your strengths (what you marked as “Almost Always”) and celebrate them! Next, review the items that you marked as either “Sometimes” or “Not Yet.” Now, start small and plan for one or two of those items that you feel are important to improve. Use the last page of the DERLS packet to help you list out your strengths, goals, and even some strategies that can help you meet your goals.

Strategies can be found from various sources. Pull from the internet, books, or ask colleagues, friends and family for ideas. To help get you started, below are some sample strategies focusing on one item from each of the four key protective factors. We hope you give them a try!

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The Impacts of Resilient Leadership

In last week’s blog post, we talked about the behaviors of a resilient leader. We also mentioned that we offer a free tool – the Devereux Resilient Leadership Survey (DERLS) – to help you reflect on those behaviors, to see where you are and hopefully reflect on your strengths and areas for growth.

Now that you know the behaviors of a resilient leader, let’s talk about what your workplace can look like should you display those behaviors. What does it look like when you focus on those protective factors of relationships, internal beliefs, initiative and self-control within your team?

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What does a resilient leader do?

“Resilient leadership” is the term used to describe those leadership behaviors that help others withstand crisis, adapt to or rebound from adversity (George Everly, Johns Hopkins University). Resilient leadership is a growing area of interest for the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC), as we see the ripple effect of resilience (or lack thereof) on children in early childhood settings, schools and child welfare services. Resilient leaders in the education and helping professions are in a position to create workplaces that foster the resilience of the adults who deeply impact children and their families. We at DCRC believe that a resilient workplace can lead to more resilient staff and more resilient staff can support the growing resilience of families and children.

But what exactly does a resilient leader do?

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It Matters Now, It Will Matter Forever

For young children, social and emotional health is a protective factor. They can use their social and emotional skills to bounce back from daily hassles and frustrations. Socially and emotionally healthy children can make friends, ask for help, express their feelings, and enjoy life. They know how to wait for a turn. They can try again when their block buildings fall down. They are willing to try new foods or learn a new game.

The Devereux Center for Resilient Children recognizes three within (internal) protective factors in young children that contribute to their resilience and social and emotional health: Initiative, Self-Regulation, and Attachment/Relationships. The adults in children’s lives, especially their parents/families, are so important in helping them develop each of these protective factors. It’s even more important for parents/families to understand the impact of doing so. What a child does now can give you a glimpse of what they will do later in life. Here are some examples…

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How Directors Can and Should Support Staff

Being a director in the early childhood field isn’t easy. In fact, most days it’s downright overwhelming with all of the things that need to happen every day to operate a successful program. There are so many moving pieces to juggle that we can sometimes forget to appreciate our staff. It is certainly unintentional, but it is a sad reality of the work. Directors know that their programs could not operate without the amazing staff. They know that they are an integral part of a successful program, and that more often than not, staff are working long hours, giving up family time to plan and prep, and that their compensation is not commensurate with the invaluable work that they do each and every day. Even given all of that, they keep walking through that door every morning and giving all they have to children and families.

Let’s remind ourselves of some things directors can and should be doing to help keep staff recharged and feeling supported…

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Benefits of Animals in the Classroom

More and more, we are seeing pet therapy popping up in our communities. Often times it’s hard to put into words just what animals help us achieve, but our minds and bodies can feel the effects. The benefits of animals assisting in the learning process for both teachers and children go far beyond what we could possibly imagine. When we think about building and supporting resilience and social-emotional learning in young children, incorporating animals into our classrooms/spaces is an innovative way to accomplish this. Animals help teach and reinforce necessary skills that help children become resilient.
We all need resilience to get through life’s challenges. It is critical to start building children’s resilience and to implement social-emotional learning during the early years of their life, so that they can use these skills as they grow and develop into adulthood. Bringing animals safely into the mix can be an added strategy to help us get there.

Here are some benefits of bringing animals into the learning environment…

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9 Tips for Co-regulating with a Child

Co-regulation is when adults help children calm down during a stressful situation. Self-regulation is an essential skill for children to develop, in order to be able to successfully maneuver through life’s ups and downs. Building self-regulation begins with co-regulation.

The development of self-regulation is dependent on a predictable, responsive, and supportive environment from a trusted adult. Self-regulation is a learned skill that needs to be modeled and supported for the child until they are able to do it for themselves. A child with healthy self-regulation skills is better able to manage their emotions, make appropriate decisions, and learn more effectively. The most important part of successfully co-regulating with a child is for the trusted adult to be regulated themselves. This allows the adult to be able to provide a safe and calm presence to support the child during a challenge, not adding to the stress the child is experiencing.

Here are nine tips for co-regulating with a child…

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Interested in contributing?

Here at DCRC, we are always eager to learn about YOU, the people who utilize our tools and resources. We would love to hear about how you and your program are using what’ve got, as well as how it has impacted the children with whom you work, their families, and even YOU!

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