On Monday, October 22, 2013, the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) was honored to receive the Institutional Leadership Award bestowed by the Center for Children’s Initiatives at the annual Champions for Children Awards luncheon.
Based in New York City, Center for Children’s Initiatives (CCI) champions the right of all children to start life with the best possible foundation of early learning, care and health.
In 2009, CCI made a special commitment to focus on children’s social and emotional development, with the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) Program selected as the model for implementation. Through hosting several DECA Program training events for coaches and mentors since 2009, CCI has been committed to increasing the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators to best support and strengthen children’s social and emotional development. Nancy Kolben, CCI Executive Director, shared that, “CCI’s DECA Project is reaching early childhood programs across the city helping classroom staff to introduce the DECA system, utilize it to guide their work with each child and to build stronger relationships with parents. We are extremely excited by the results we are seeing, the feedback from teachers and the growing interest among early childhood programs. By creating learning communities of programs that have adopted the DECA system, we are learning from each other what works and how to best support early childhood programs to better meet the emotional needs of the children in their programs, all with the goal of creating quality improvement strategies to support social emotional development with programs which both improve individual classroom practice but also promote system-wide change.” CCI has been encouraged by the DECA Program results and has continued to grow the project each year, offering additional trainings and increasing the number of programs involved. In addition to improvements on the child’s DECA assessment results, the feedback from staff has been very positive. Evaluation report findings concluded that staff at all of the participating sites reported that the DECA Program improved parent communication, involvement, and their relationships with families. In addition, sites all reported that the program changed the way they perceive children’s emotions, their use of specific guidelines to help with assessments and with planning activities, their set up of the classroom environment and in how they react to children’s challenging behaviors.
Following are a few excerpts from the report:
One supervisor said, “We moved from parent involvement to parent engagement….the approach to parents changed and there is more empathy.”
The main thing the staff learned was “the importance of social/emotional relationships….“if the social/emotional areas are okay, the cognitive comes along.”
A project evaluator reported, “I have never heard so many people talk about looking at the classroom from the perspective of the child and helping the children to learn about feelings. It was exciting to hear. I was impressed with the staff member who told me that she learned that the emotional has to come first, and then the learning will follow.”
DCRC Director, Paul A. LeBuffe and Senior Executive Advisor, Linda K. Likins accepted the award on behalf of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. Paul and Linda spoke about how validating and heartwarming it is to hear firsthand about the positive differences that Devereux’s resources are making in the lives of children across New York City. To see a video that was shard at the event and to learn more about the other award recipients, please click herewww.centerforchildrensinitiatives.org