Category Archives: Tier2

2.1: Integrate infant/early childhood mental health consultation into program/school

Mental health consultation icon

Infant/Young children’s mental health is a public health concern. Challenging behavior is common in children birth to age 5 but can reach clinically significant levels at times. Infant/Young children with challenging behaviors are more at risk for being suspended or expelled, even later in life. About 20% of school-aged children show challenging behaviors that are linked to mental health problems, and 10% to 15% display psychiatric disorders (e.g., anxiety; aggression) that affect their behavior even more. However, many children do not have access to the services they need, and many services offered are not high in quality.

An infant/early childhood mental health consultant (I/ECMHC) is someone who can support infant/child development by building the skills and capacities of caregivers, program leaders, and parents/families. For example, I/ECMHC can help staff build skills around behavior and classroom management and increase developmentally appropriate practices and expectations. In fact, there is accumulating evidence that developing practitioner skills that promote the positive social-emotional development of all infants/children, can help to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

Note: When we refer to “children” throughout the rest of this text, we are referring to children birth to age five.

Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant (I/ECMHC)

  • The I/ECMHC approach creates teams composed of a mental health professional with an individual or groups of early childhood care providers in an ongoing problem-solving and capacity-building relationship. I/ECMHCs seek to improve child outcomes through changes made in the classroom environment (e.g., routines) and by helping teachers, staff, and other caregivers gain new skills. Emphasis is on building teachers’ skills and capacities through careful observation of individual children, screening, and modeling effective practices.
  • It will be helpful to have a conversation with an I/ECMHC to clarify program needs and priorities. I/ECMHCs can provide a range of services that are carefully tailored to meet the needs of the children and families that programs serve. However, it is imperative to understand that I/ECMHC serve as consultants – not as therapists whose purpose is to “fix” children.
  • Consultants can support your program and promote children’s social-emotional development through:
    • Early identification of children with social-emotional and behavioral concerns, such as screenings and making referrals for children and families with more serious concerns.
    • Building staff capacity to promote the social-emotional development of all children in the program and addressing challenging behaviors, through:
      • problem-solving alongside the teacher,
      • modeling effective methods of interacting with children, and
      • improving the program’s climate, structure, and day-to-day operation.
    • Guiding or facilitating self-reflection, where workplace stressors or complex professional topics (such as implicit bias) can be discussed and addressed in a safe space.
    • Working with administrators, staff, and family members of children in your program to reduce problem behaviors and build positive social-emotional skills by:
      • developing and implementing classroom-based interventions alongside teachers,
      • supervising family-outreach workers,
      • providing crisis interventions in the face of community or family disasters, and
      • running parent groups.

This 2-minute video from the Mental Health Consultation Tool learning module provides a broad overview of how a mental health consultant works systemically with program leaders, staff, families and children.

Want to see a more in-depth example of how an I/ECMHC helped a program and family manage a young chid’s biting behaviors?

How do I do this?

Does your program already have access to an early childhood mental health consultant?

If your program already has access to an I/ECMHC, you can use the following needs assessment survey from the Georgetown University Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation:

  • The purpose of this tool is to collect information about the strengths and weaknesses of your current ECMH program services based on current best practices. Upon completion of the survey, this online tool can link you to information and resources that can help to strengthen your ECMH services.

If your program does not have access to an I/ECMHC, proceed to Step 1.

Step 1. Assess the I/ECMHC options. Determine which consultation and delivery format best fits your program’s priorities. Discuss and consider the perspectives of providers/teachers as well as families with a planning team (see Step 2 for more details on the planning team). As you review the possibilities outlined below, it is helpful to take stock of what program and community resources and services are accessible or already in place. This includes determining whether your state has a statewide approach to I/ECMHC.

There are three basic early childhood mental health consultation formats:

  1. Classroom-specific consultation, which focuses on improving the quality of teacher-child interactions and classroom behavior management.
  2. Child-specific consultation, which focuses on strengthening teachers’ strategies for developing children’s behavioral and social-emotional skills, parent/caregiver partnerships, and referrals for specific children.
  3. Program-wide approach, which not only provides I/ECMHC services to all of the providers and children in a program, but also works with the director to examine and improve program policies and procedures to better support social-emotional development and prevent expulsions/suspensions.

Table 1. Examples of Child- and Classroom-Specific Consultation Services

For Children:
Conduct individual child observations
Design and implement program practices responsive to the identified needs of the child
Provide one-on-one modeling or coaching to support an individual child
Provide crisis intervention services for staff regarding a child’s behavior
Advise and connect staff to community resources and services
Provide support for reflective practices
For Families:
Offer training on behavior management techniques
Provide one-on-one modeling to support an individual child
Educate parents on mental health issues and refer them to health services located in community
Conduct home visits
Advocate for parents

Note. This table has been abridged and summarized for the purposes of this guide.

There are three main early childhood mental health consultation delivery formats, with the most common format listed first:

  1. Individualized consultation, which provides services based on the needs and priorities of providers/teachers, programs, and families.
  2. Consultation that uses an established curriculum that includes I/ECMHC services (e.g., The Incredible Years; the Skillstreaming social skills curriculum).
  3. Manualized consultation, an approach driven by a manual or set of program guidelines.

It should be noted that a majority of I/ECMHCs will design a plan specific and unique to a particular programs’ needs, priorities, and available resources. Often, this entails taking some components or strategies from multiple curriculums (as opposed to adopting the whole curriculum) and adapting them so that they work in your program context.

Table 2. Examples of Consultation Services for Programs

For Staff:
Conduct classroom observations and evaluate the center or learning environment
Train staff on behavior management techniques and accessing mental health resources

Suggest strategies for classroom management
Support staff working with children with challenging behaviors
For Programs:
Promote staff wellness by addressing issues related to communication and promote team building
Train staff to use culturally responsive and developmentally appropriate practices
Design and implement early childhood mental health best practices for your program context
Consult with the program director and advise on issues related to program needs and policies

Note. This table has been abridged and summarized for the purposes of this guide.

Case Study: Connecticut’s Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP)

To date, the success of this state-wide program has been proven through three rigorous random control trials. The ECCP is an evidence-based, mental health consultation program to address the high rates of suspension and expulsion of preschool children in child care settings. It is one of the few programs in the country serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The Department of Children and Families in Connecticut uses this program, and its efforts have been documented in a U.S. News & World Report article.

  • For more details about Connecticut’s Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, please see the ECCP website. We recommend that those interested visit the (“Program Facts” page). This section of the website has more details about the kinds of services I/ECMHCs offer and how the program is implemented in programs across the state. The documentation of partners and contractors, funding sources, and issues related to the workforce might also be helpful.

Step 2. Plan a course of action to put in place the core features needed for an I/ECMHC to succeed. The key to effective early childhood mental health consultation lies in the consultant’s ability to develop a positive, collaborative partnership with teachers and staff. This relationship is built and sustained through effective communication. To help prevent suspensions and expulsions, an effective I/ECMHC consultation program follows these core steps:

  • Develop a program-wide vision of what mental health looks like for children in your program.
  • Create a strategic plan co-constructed by a planning team with agreed-on goals.
  • Develop and prioritize which goals your strategic planning team would like to achieve. Be careful to also specify the roles and responsibilities of families, providers/teachers, and staff.
  • Identify a trained and qualified ECMHC who uses evidence-based practices

Table 3. I/ECMHC Core Competencies

Source: Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation National Competencies from the Office of Head Start’s Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (I/ECMHC) learning module.

  • Collaborate with other early childhood service providers such as IDEA service providers, home visitors, or family outreach specialists.
  • Communicate with staff and families and promote buy-in.
  • Assess progress and new needs.

What Barriers Might I Run Into and What Are Solutions?

Potential Barrier: Staff and families are resistant because of the stigma attached to mental health services.
Solution: Some families might be hesitant to use mental health services because of stigma. Schools are a logical and convenient environment to deliver mental health services. Program-based services help lower barriers that stop children from having access to mental health services. These barriers can include travel time and transportation access, parents/caregivers’ having to take time off work, and lack of knowledge about where to seek help. Services provided in programs also help get around the real and perceived stigma of seeking services through traditional mental health service providers—services are instead provided in a familiar and trusted setting. Importantly, services are also administered in partnership with another trusted caregiver (teacher, teaching aide, paraeducators). The classroom is a useful environment for children to practice skills in real-life settings with teachers and peers, increasing the chances that these skills will solidify.

  • To help educate staff and families on what early childhood mental health is and looks like, check out this 5-minute video put together by the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, which explains early childhood mental health.

Potential Barrier: How will we know when to seek the services of an EI/ECMHC?
Solution: Challenging behavior does not need to meet clinical definitions in order to hire an EMHC practitioner. In fact, working with an I/ECMHC may help keep challenging behaviors from escalating and carrying over into other contexts (e.g., by identifying the causes of intense tantrum behaviors that are not easily soothed in school, the I/ECMHC can help parents and caregivers develop strategies to prevent such behavior out of school).

  • For real life scenarios and guidelines, check out this two-page brief from the Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) on when to seek outside help for children’s behavior.

Potential Barrier: My program lacks funding to support an I/ECMHC.
Solution: Investing in an I/ECMHC is argued to be cost-effective and justified as a method of preventing the extremely high costs associated with treating behavioral problems in later school years (e.g., grade retention, contact with the juvenile justice system) and at later points in life (e.g., mental health services).

  • This document describes federal funding streams that can be paired with state and local funds to support the hiring of an I/ECMHC.
  • Consider partnering with a Head Start program, all of which are required to have an I/ECMHC or with other mental health agencies that may have grants or funds to provide services for free or at a discounted rate to people in their community. For example, the state of Louisiana offers free I/ECMHC to all programs in the QRIS while Connecticut offers it to any providers who work with children under the age of 5.

Potential Barrier: My program lacks resources or funding in general.
Solution: Your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency can help you find local free and low-cost training opportunities. They can also help you find grants for additional funding and resources.

  • You can locate Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in your area through Child Care Aware’s search tool. Its State by State Resource Map can point you in the right direction for local resources on child care, health and social services, financial assistance, support for children with special needs, and more.

Where do I go for more resources?

  • Developing and Implementing a Program-Wide Vision for Effective Mental Health Consultation. This is a tool kit to support Early/Head Start administrators in promoting program-wide mental health through an I/ECMHC. This tool kit addresses topics such as (1) developing a mental health vision, (2) building a mental health strategic plan, (3) the foundations for implementing your strategic plan, (4) hiring an I/ECMHC, (5) building and using a mental health work group, and (6) accountability and continuous quality improvement.
  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: An Evaluation Tool Kit. This tool kit provides a more comprehensive description of the defining characteristics and core features of an I/ECMHC. The document also contains information about how to develop a plan to evaluate how the I/ECMHC impacts the outcomes of children and their families
  • The Center for Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. This is a resource page from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The I/ECMHC Toolbox offers information about the latest research and best practices for I/ECMHC in infant and early childhood settings. It provides free interactive planning tools, guides, videos, and additional resources to support I/ECMHC efforts in states, tribes, or communities.
  • Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. This is a website developed by Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development that provides links to materials that addresses the questions and needs of I/ECMHCs, Head Start program administrators, Head Start staff, training and technical assistance providers, and families.
  • Mental Health Consultation Tool. This webpage is an interactive learning module that includes a needs assessment as well as modules on topics related to workforce development, financing, and cultural issues.

References

Brennan, E. M., Bradley, J. R., Allen, M. D., & Perry, D. F. (2008). The evidence base for mental health consultation in early childhood settings: Research synthesis addressing staff and program outcomes. Early Education and Development, 19(6), 982-1022.

Center for Disease Control. (1999).Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/Library/MentalHealth/chapter2/sec2_1.html

Cohen, E., & Kaufmann, R. K. (2000). Early childhood mental health consultation. Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Cohen & Kaufmann (2005); Donahue, P. J., Falk, B., & Provet, A. G. (2000). Mental health consultation in early childhood. Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Gilliam, W. S. (2007). Early Childhood Consultation Partnership: Results of a random-controlled evaluation. Final Report and Executive Summary. New Haven, CT: Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine.

Green, B. L., Everhart, M., Gordon, L., & Gettman, M. G. (2006). Characteristics of effective mental health consultation in early childhood settings multilevel analysis of a national survey. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 26(3), 142-152.

Green, B. L., & Allen, M. D. (2012). Developing and implementing a programwide vision for effective mental health consultation toolkit. Retrieved from http://www.I/ECMHC.org/documents/CI/ECMHC_AdministratorsToolkit.pdf a>

Hepburn, K. S., Kaufmann, R. K., Perry, D. F., Allen, M. D., Brennan, E. M., & Green, B. L. (2007). Early childhood mental health consultation: An evaluation tool kit.

Masia-Warner, C., Klein, R. G., Dent, H. C., Fisher, P. H., Alvir, J., Albano, A. M., & Guardino, M. (2005). School-based intervention for adolescents with social anxiety disorder: Results of a controlled study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 33(6), 707-722.

Perry, D. F., Allen, M. D., Brennan, E. M., & Bradley, J. R. (2010). The evidence base for mental health consultation in early childhood settings: A research synthesis addressing children’s behavioral outcomes. Early Education and Development, 21(6), 795-824.

Perou, R., Bitsko, R. H., Blumberg, S. J., Pastor, P., Ghandour, R. M., Gfroerer, J. C., … & Parks, S. E. (2013). Mental health surveillance among children—United States, 2005–2011. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 62(2), 1-35.

Stagman, S. M., & Cooper, J. L. (2010). Children’s mental health: What every policymaker should know. Retrieved from https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:126203

Yoshikawa, H., & Knitzer, J. (1997). Lessons from the Field: Head Start Mental Health Strategies To Meet Changing Needs. National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University School of Public Health.

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2.2 Classroom Environment

2.2: Support teachers/providers to modify the classroom environment to prevent challenging behaviors

Preventing challenging behaviors icon

The first steps to addressing challenging behavior is to ensure that the classroom environment is developmentally appropriate, the teacher has reasonable expectations for the child, and the environment supports the child in understanding the expectations and how to meet them. Children ages 3 to 5 should not be treated like older children—they have different developmental needs and abilities. That means classrooms should be designed to match the age, cultural, and individual needs of children. When the environment is high quality, challenging behavior decreases, with the results that teacher stress decreases and fewer children are removed from the classroom or asked to leave the program. Practices related to a high-quality environment include:

  • Providing responsive adult-child interactions and nurturing relationships
  • Having predictable schedules and routines and using visual schedules
  • Providing appropriate transitions and transition warnings. See an example of one way to provide a transition warning in this video from the Pyramid Model Consortium.
  • Providing descriptive praise
  • Implementing developmentally appropriate classroom rules

“You want to set the stage for your children to come in your classroom and know that they have a safe, loving environment.” – Anonymous provider

How do I do this?

Step 1. Discuss and reflect. Talk to your providers/teachers about the importance of implementing high-quality environmental practices and how that is related to preventing the challenging behaviors that lead to suspensions and expulsions.

  • Support your providers/teachers as they reflect on their own practices. Ask providers/teachers to ask themselves questions, such as:
    • What can I add to or change about my classroom environment to help children understand classroom expectations?
    • Are my classroom expectations appropriate for the age and individual needs and abilities of my children?
  • Help your providers/teachers understand what high-quality classroom environments look like by establishing a comprehensive list of practices that should be in place in early childhood classrooms.
  • Work with providers/teachers to prioritize specific practices to avoid overwhelming them. In CSEFEL’s Inventory of Practices, there are a variety of skills and indicators related to high-quality environments—building supportive relationships and designing supportive environments. Of the selected practices, discuss and reflect on the extent to which they may or may not be present.

Vignette 1: Jonelle is the center director of a state-funded preschool center called Harris Early Learning Center. She leads a staff meeting where they discuss the importance of having a high-quality classroom environment and how that might reduce challenging behavior and the need to remove children from the classroom or have them leave early. The staff list practices that support a high-quality environment. Jonelle challenges each teacher to reflect on her or his own teaching practices and think about what might be a good starting point for improving the classroom environment.


Vignette 2: Shooting Stars Child Development Center is a small, private child care center. There are two children in the center who have significant challenging behaviors, Marcus and Danielle. Marcus’s provider has a strong relationship with Marcus and his family, but Danielle’s provider struggles to build a relationship with Danielle and her family. In fact, Danielle’s provider has asked Randi, the director of the center, to tell Danielle’s family to find a new care arrangement. Randi is committed to ensuring that all children can be successful in her center. She finds the CSEFEL Inventory of Practices online and decides to use it to focus on preventing challenging behavior. After one-on-one discussions with the staff at Shooting Stars, Randi decides, with the providers’ input, to first focus on having responsive interactions with children.

Step 2. Identify training needs. After establishing a list of practices and priorities, it is important to work with providers/teachers to identify goals and opportunities for growth to implement the practices consistently. Discuss what types of professional development and support are needed to help the providers/teachers meet their goals. Where does training need to be targeted? Do staff have specific training requests?

  • Looking for a provider/teacher goal planning form to adapt? See this editable template from TACSEI.

Vignette 1: Samantha thinks transitions should be a priority for change in her classroom, because a lot of challenging behavior happens during transitions. Jonelle helps Samantha develop the following goal: I will create opportunities for children to be ready for and engaged in transitions. Jonelle and Samantha then discuss what Samantha needs to help make that happen. They decide that Samantha needs help brainstorming ideas for making her transitions active. She also could use another pair of eyes in the classroom during her hardest transition, which is moving from centers to lunch.

Vignette 2: Randi gives each provider a planning form. The planning form has a space to write down what the provider feels s/he is doing already around responsive interactions, as well as a space to write down practices the teacher would like to do more or learn more about. Randi uses these planning forms to guide her in providing resources and support to providers around responsive interactions and positive relationships.

Step 3. Plan a course of action. After identifying goals and professional development and support needs, you should work with your providers/teachers to decide how they can meet their goals.

  • Looking for an action plan template that you can adapt to use with your staff? See this editable template from TACSEI.

Vignette 1: Jonelle and Samantha decide on some concrete steps to reach Samantha’s transition goal. First, Jonelle and Samantha decide to get ideas from other teachers about how to make transitions active by posting a large piece of construction paper in the staff break room, with the following prompt: “Fellow teachers, please share your ideas for helping children be engaged and active in transitions!” They leave markers near the posted paper and encourage teachers to share their ideas. After collecting different ideas, Jonelle and Samantha decide to do three things:

  1. Provide 5-minute and 1-minute warnings before each transition.
  2. For the transition to lunch, designate a “clean-up captain” each week, whose job it is to walk around the room during the transition to remind other children to clean up centers. Then, as they move to the sink to wash their hands, Samantha will help them take turns and will lead the children waiting in line in a fingerplay, song, or other engaging activity. To increase child engagement, she will let individual children suggest ideas (e.g., “Let’s count as high as we can!” or “Can we sing ‘Down by the Bay’?”) The assistant teacher will receive children at the mealtime tables and will enlist their help in setting out utensils, napkins, etc.
  3. Jonelle will visit the classroom during this transition for several Thursdays in a row and will note how long the transition lasts and the amount of challenging behavior that occurs. Then Jonelle and Samantha will look at the data to see whether there are improvements and determine whether further steps are needed.


Vignette 2: Randi helps each provider set a goal around responsive interactions. Marcus’s provider decides to focus on increasing the number of responsive interactions she has with Marcus, as well as making sure to continue to have responsive interactions with all children. Danielle’s provider decides to focus on having at least one responsive interaction with Danielle during each routine of the day (e.g., bathroom, circle, lunch). Randi brainstorms with both providers ways they can have responsive interactions and creates a list of ideas they can draw from, in addition to finding in-the-moment opportunities. Their list of ideas includes the following:

  • Greet children when they arrive for the day.
  • Have conversations with children at mealtimes (e.g., “Marcus, what did you do after school yesterday?”).
  • Encourage children to talk to one another during mealtimes, supporting their conversations as needed.
  • Respond to children’s comments during circle/book reading.
  • Join in children’s play in centers and outside, following the children’s lead.
  • Have extended conversations with children about their interests.
  • Use behavior, affective, and paraphrase reflections rather than questions to encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings (e.g., Behavior reflection: “You are using a lot of brown in your painting;” Affective reflection: “You seem frustrated that the dramatic play center is closed;” Paraphrase reflection: Child says, “I am going to go to the park and swing on the swings and play in the sandbox and then we are going to get ice cream!” Teacher responds with, “You are going to do a lot of fun activities at the park and even have a snack!”).

Step 4. Acknowledge progress. Recognize providers/teachers as they make progress and demonstrate exemplary implementation. Encourage teachers to acknowledge one another, as well. This creates a culture of support and recognition.

Vignette 1: As Samantha implements new practices around transition, she sees a gradual change in how long each transition lasts. Jonelle is able to confirm this with her weekly data collection during the transition to lunch. The data also show that there are fewer challenging behaviors in this transition. With Samantha’s permission, Jonelle creates a simple graph showing the improvements in transition times and challenging behavior. She displays it in the staff break room to recognize Jonelle’s hard work, thank other teachers for their ideas, and inspire other teachers to set goals for themselves.

Vignette 2: At Shooting Stars Child Development Center, Randi wants to encourage providers to meet their goals and recognize their progress, so she gives each provider a sticky notepad shaped like a star for them to acknowledge one another when they are “caught” having a responsive interaction with a child. The staff decide to put the stars on the doors of one another’s classrooms.

Step 5. Assess progress and new needs. It is important to remember that improving provider/teacher practices is a continuous cycle that should be repeated as teachers meet their goals and as staff change. This repetition helps to celebrate success, identify new areas of focus or needs, and revise strategies if needed.

Vignette 1: After a few months of work around transitions and steady progress, Samantha goes on maternity leave. A long-term substitute teacher fills in for her. Jonelle makes a plan to work with the substitute, as well as the teaching assistant in the classroom, to ensure that appropriate transition practices continue to be used.

Vignette 2: In Shooting Stars Child Development Center, all the providers made significant progress around responsive interactions with children. They then revisit their list of practices and decide to focus on the next priority, which is increasing the amount of descriptive praise and encouragement they provide to children. In a staff meeting, they also reflect on their progress with responsive interactions and commit to maintaining those practices even as they focus on new practices.

Evidence Supporting Specific Practices

Specific practices related to the classroom environment were listed and defined above. It is important to consider the evidence for using these practices. In the table below, the evidence for each practice is noted as being:

  • theoretical or based on expert opinion,
  • based on research around the individual use of a specific practice, and
  • based on research around the use of a practice as part of a broader approach.

All the practices listed are based on theoretical support and expert opinion, but the specific research supporting each practice varies.

Evidence
Practice
Theoretical/ expert opinion
Empirical evidence for specific practice
Empirical evidence as part of broader approach
Responsive adult-child interactions and nurturing relationships
Predictable schedules and routines and visual schedules
Appropriate transitions and transition warnings
 
Descriptive praise and encouragement
Developmentally appropriate classroom rules
 

What Barriers Might I Run Into and What Are Solutions?

Potential Barrier: It’s difficult to develop positive relationships with children who are absent often.
Solutions: Talk with the parents about the importance of regular attendance. Try to determine the reason for the child’s absences to better understand the family circumstances and, if needed and possible, connect the family to addition services. If the child continues to miss school, encourage the child’s teacher(s) to think of ways to acknowledge the child when s/he is there. The teacher(s) could have the class write a letter or make a piece of art for the child to let her/him know s/he was missed.

Potential Barrier: It’s difficult to access resources to create visuals.
Solutions: Be creative! Consider using free clip art from the Internet, photographs of the children in your center, or even hand drawings. Check out Teaching Tools for Young Children with Challenging Behavior for premade visuals and tips for using them.

Potential Barrier: The classroom schedule changes often, so it is difficult to have a predictable schedule.
Solutions: Encourage teachers to establish a predictable schedule, as that is essential in helping children feel secure in their environment. At minimum, teachers should be able to know the schedule for the current day. Sometimes changes to the schedule are inevitable; when that is the case, use a visual schedule that can be moved around and manipulated to fit the current schedule of the classroom. Encourage teachers to use the visual schedule to tell children about changes to the schedule so children are prepared.

Potential Barrier: It isn’t possible to reduce the number of transitions.
Solutions: Even if the number of transitions can’t be reduced, there are still things teachers can do to make sure children are engaged. Assign staff so that someone is always there to “receive” children (e.g., if children are moving from centers to line up to go outside, make sure an adult is at the door). Use transition strategies like songs and other activities to minimize “down time” when children are not engaged (e.g., standing in line, waiting for other kids to finish washing their hands). Additionally, transition warnings should always be used, and the number and type of warnings should be individualized to meet children’s needs.

Potential Barrier: Teachers are resistant to change.
Solutions: Following the guidelines listed (e.g., engaging teacher in the process of generating practices, doing a needs assessment, developing goals) will promote teacher buy-in and openness to change.

Where do I go for more resources?

References

Hemmeter, M. L., Fox, L., & Hardy, J. K. (2016). Supporting the implementation of tiered models of behavior support in early childhood settings. In B. R. Reichow, B. Boyd, E. Barton, & S. Odom (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood education. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Kauffman, J. M. (1999). How we prevent the prevention of emotional and behavioral disorders. Exceptional Children, 65, 448-468.

NAEYC (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8: A position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC.

Smith, B., & Fox, L. (2003). Systems of service delivery: A synthesis of evidence relevant to young children at risk of or who have challenging behavior. Tampa, FL: Center for Evidence-Based Practice: Young Children with Challenging Behavior, University of South Florida.

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2.3: Support providers/teachers to implement evidence-based practices for supporting positive social-emotional development

Social-emotional development icon

Supporting providers/teachers to implement evidence-based practices to support all children’s positive social-emotional development has been shown to prevent and reduce challenging behaviors. Just like teaching reading and literacy skills, children need supports and guidance to develop positive social-emotional skills. Supporting positive social-emotional development provides children with the foundational skills and tools to manage and express their behavior and emotions in appropriate ways. Preventing challenging behaviors before they become chronic and more severe ultimately reduces providers’/teachers’ stress. When teachers are less stressed, they are less likely to feel the need to resort to exclusionary discipline practices. This recommendation focuses on supporting providers/teachers to increase opportunities and activities for building foundational social-emotional skills, including emotional literacy, positive peer social interactions, self-regulation and self-management, and social problem solving.

How do I do this?

Step 1. Discuss and reflect. Talk to your providers/teachers about the importance of instructional practices to promote children’s positive social-emotional development and how such practices are related to preventing the challenging behaviors that lead to suspensions and expulsion.

  • Support your providers/teachers as they reflect on their own practices. Ask providers/teachers to ask themselves questions, such as:
    • What can I add to or change about my teaching strategies to help children increase their self-regulation and self-management skills?
    • Are my expectations of children’s behavior appropriate for the age and individual needs and abilities of my children?
    • To help stimulate reflection, see this ZERO TO THREE Tuning In: Self-Control infographic about beliefs vs. evidence of when children develop self-control.
  • Help your providers/teachers understand what promoting children’s positive social-emotional development looks like by establishing a comprehensive list of practices that should be in place in preschool classrooms. You can start with a preexisting one, such as the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning’s (CSEFEL) Inventory of Practices, and adapt it to meet your needs.
  • Work with providers/teachers to prioritize specific practices to avoid overwhelming them. In CSEFEL’s Inventory of Practices there are a variety of skills and indicators related to social-emotional teaching strategies. Of the selected practices, discuss and reflect on the extent to which they may or may not be present.

Vignette 1: Jonelle is the center director of a state-funded preschool center called Harris Early Learning Center. She leads a staff meeting where they discuss the importance of instructional practices to promote children’s positive social-emotional development, how such practices might reduce challenging behavior and the need to remove children from the classroom or have them leave early. The staff list instructional practices that promote children’s social-emotional development, including emotional literacy, positive peer social interactions, self-regulation and self-management, and social problem solving. Jonelle challenges each teacher to reflect on her or his own teaching practices and think about what might be a good starting point for improving and embedding social-emotional instructional practices in their daily interactions with children.

Vignette 2: Shooting Stars Child Development Center is a small, private child care center. There are two children in the center that have significant challenging behavior, Marcus and Danielle. Marcus’s provider has a strong relationship with Marcus and his family, but Danielle’s provider struggles to build a relationship with Danielle and her family. In fact, Danielle’s provider has asked Randi, the director of the center, to tell Danielle’s family to find a new care arrangement. Randi is committed to ensuring that all children can be successful in her center. She finds the CSEFEL Inventory of Practices online and decides to use it to focus on preventing challenging behavior. After one-on-one discussions with the staff at Shooting Stars, Randi decides, with the providers’ input, to focus on three areas to start: responsive provider/teacher-child interactions with children (see Recommendation 2.2), emotional literacy by promoting identification and labeling of emotions, and self-regulation by encouraging autonomy.

Step 2. Identify training needs. After establishing a list of practices and priorities, it is important to work with teachers to identify goals and opportunities for growth to implement the practices consistently. Discuss what types of professional development and support are needed to help the teachers meet their goals. Where does training need to be targeted? Do staff have specific training requests?

Vignette 1: Samantha thinks promoting children’s social problem solving should be a priority for change in her classroom, because a lot of challenging behavior happens between children during free play periods. Jonelle helps Samantha develop the following goal: I will create a planned approach for problem solving processes for children in my classroom. Jonelle and Samantha then discuss what Samantha needs to help make that happen. They decide that Samantha needs help brainstorming ideas for teaching problem solving steps. She would also like Jonelle to observer her classroom to help identify natural opportunities for “problematizing” situations throughout the day to allow children to generate solutions.

Vignette 2: Randi gives each provider a planning form. The planning form has a space to write down what the provider feels s/he is doing already around promoting the identification and labeling of emotions and encouraging autonomy, as well as a space to write down practices the provider would like to do more or learn more about. Randi uses these planning forms to guide her in identifying what resources and support to provide to staff.

Step 3. Plan a course of action. After identifying goals and professional development and support needs, you should work with your providers/teachers to decide how they can meet their goals.

  • Looking for an action plan template that you can adapt to use with your staff? See this editable template from TACSEI.

Vignette 1: Jonelle and Samantha decide on some concrete steps to reach Samantha’s social problem-solving goal. First, Jonelle and Samantha decide to get ideas from other teachers for teaching problem-solving steps by posting a large piece of construction paper in the staff break room, with the following prompt: “Fellow teachers, please share your ideas for helping teach children problem-solving steps!” They leave markers near the posted paper and encourage teachers to share their ideas. After collecting different ideas, Jonelle and Samantha decide to do three things:

  1. Create a problem-solving steps poster to put up in the room and use with kids:
    1. Think: What is my problem?
    2. Solve: What are some solutions?
    3. Plan: What would happen next?
    4. Check: Try it out!
  2. Reinforce children’s problem-solving efforts by handing out “gotchas.” Place gotchas with children’s names on them into a box and each week, have a drawing. The child whose name is selected gets first choice of activity.
  3. Create a “What can I do?” social problem-solving pinwheel with an appropriate solution to social conflicts in each wedge, along with a picture. Bring the wheel with you when you see conflicts between two kids and have them spin the wheel to talk about if it might be a good solution and try it out:
  4. problem_solving_wheel

Vignette 2: Randi helps each provider set a goal around promoting emotional literacy. Marcus’s provider decides to focus on increasing Marcus’s ability to identify and label his emotions and identify appropriate ways to express them, as well as making sure to continue to increase opportunities for all children to self-identify and label their emotions and those of others. Danielle’s provider decides to focus on increasing opportunities for Danielle to make choices and complete tasks independently before stepping in during routines (e.g., bathroom, circle, lunch). Randi brainstorms with both providers ways they can promote emotional literacy and encourage autonomy and creates a list of ideas they can draw from, in addition to finding in-the-moment opportunities, including:

  • Sing songs and read stories with new feeling words.
  • Take photographs of the children making different emotion expressions (happy, mad, sad, scared, shy, excited, worried) to put up in the room. In the morning, have children “check in” by picking a feeling face that best represents their morning mood. At the end of the day, have children pick again and talk about why they feel the same or different.
  • Create a set of puppets with different emotion expressions that children can use in dramatic play. Prompt children to talk about how the puppet feels and why when playing.
  • Use validating statements to acknowledge and label how children are feeling (“I can see you are really excited about going outside today! It made Maria happy when you asked her to play with you.”).
  • When children are feeling upset or frustrated, label how they are feeling and provide an action statement for an appropriate way they can express or cope with their feelings, such as “I see that you are feeling frustrated. Let’s take a few belly breaths to help calm down.”
  • Select a routine or activity to teach children to self-manage and lay out each step with pictures on a laminated chart, such as what to do when it is clean-up time: stop playing, pick up toys, put them back on their shelf, and take a seat in the circle area.
  • For children with challenging behaviors, offer choices among two or more types of materials of activities during meals, chores, centers, routines, and play, such as choosing materials during an activity, choosing what activity will come next, and choosing a friend to sit with at lunch.

Step 4. Acknowledge progress.Recognize providers/teachers as they make progress and demonstrate exemplary implementation. Encourage teachers to acknowledge one another, as well. This creates a culture of support and recognition.

Vignette 1: As Samantha implements new practices around social problem solving, she sees a gradual change in children’s ability to self-identify solutions to conflicts with their peers. Jonelle is able to confirm this with her weekly data collection, noting fewer conflicts during free play. The data also show that there are fewer challenging behaviors overall during free play. With Samantha’s permission, Jonelle creates a simple graph showing the improvements in transition times and challenging behaviors. She displays it in the staff break room to recognize Jonelle’s hard work, thank other teachers for their ideas, and inspire other teachers to set goals for themselves.

Vignette 2: At Shooting Stars Child Development Center, Randi wants to encourage providers to meet their goals and recognize their progress, so she gives each provider a sticky notepad shaped like a star for them to acknowledge one another when they are “caught” promoting emotional literacy or self-regulation with a child. The staff decide to put the stars on the doors of one another’s classrooms.

Step 5. Assess progress and new needs.It is important to remember that improving provider/teacher practices is a continuous cycle that should be repeated as staff meet their goals and as staff change. This helps to celebrate success and identify new areas of focus or needs, and revise strategies if needed.

Vignette 1: After a few months of work around social problem solving and steady progress, Samantha goes on maternity leave. A long-term substitute teacher fills in for her. Jonelle makes a plan to work with the substitute, as well as the teaching assistant in the classroom, to ensure that strategies for teaching social problem solving continue to be used.

Vignette 2: In Shooting Stars Child Development Center, all the providers made significant progress around emotional literacy and self-regulation. They then revisit their list of practices and decide to focus on the next priority, which is increasing teaching strategies for promoting friendship skills and positive peer social interactions. In a staff meeting, they also reflect on their progress with emotional literacy and self-regulation and commit to maintaining those practices even as they focus on new practices.

Evidence Supporting Specific Practices
Specific practices related to the promoting children’s positive social-emotional development were listed and defined above. It is important to consider the evidence for using these practices. In the table below, the evidence for each practice is noted as being

  • theoretical or based on expert opinion,
  • based on research around the individual use of a specific practice, and
  • based on research around the use of a practice as part of a broader intervention.

All the practices listed are based on theoretical support and expert opinion, but the specific research supporting each practice varies.Looking for resources for selecting evidence-based social-emotional curricula? See the following guides:

Evidence
Practice
Theoretical/ expert opinion
Empirical evidence for specific practice
Empirical evidence as part of broader approach
Emotional Literacy Instruction
Friendship skills instruction/Positive peer social interaction
Social problem-solving instruction/Conflict resolution
Self-regulation/Self-management instruction

What Barriers Might I Run Into and What Are Solutions?

Potential Barrier: I need resources for providing training and professional development on practices for supporting positive social-emotional development.
Solution: There are several free online training modules that you can use with your staff:

Potential Barrier:My program doesn’t have the resources or funding.
Solution: Your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency can help you find local free and low-cost training opportunities. They can also help you find grants for additional funding and resources.You can locate Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in your area through Child Care Aware’s search tool. Its State by State Resource Map can point you in the right direction for local resources on child care, health and social services, financial assistance, support for children with special needs, and more.

Potential Barrier: My staff are resistant to adopting new practices.
Solution: Engaging staff in exploration and decision-making processes promotes buy-in and makes it more likely that all interested parties—staff and families—will be committed to the ultimate decision.

Potential Barrier: We’ve tried adopting evidence-based practices or curricula for supporting social-emotional development before, but it doesn’t last.
Solution: Support the ongoing implementation of practices. Evidence shows that providing a one-time training without follow-up implementation supports is not effective. It is also crucial to integrate practices into everyday activities and build them into the daily schedule.

Where do I go for more resources?

References

Bodrova E., & Leong, D. J. (2012). Tools of the mind: Vygotskian approach to early childhood education. In J. L. Roopnarine & J. Jones, Approaches to early childhood education (6th ed., pp. 241-260). Columbus, OH: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Bovey, T. & Strain, P. Promoting positive peer social interactions. What Works Briefs, Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. Accessed from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/briefs/wwb8.pdf

Fox, L. & Garrison, S. Helping children learn to manage their own behavior. What Works Briefs. Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.

Joseph, G. E., & Strain, P. S. (2003). Comprehensive Evidence-Based Social—Emotional Curricula for Young Children An Analysis of Efficacious Adoption Potential. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 23(2), 62-73.

Joseph, G., Strain, P. & Ostrosky, M. M. (2005). Fostering emotional literacy in young children: Labeling emotions. What Works Briefs, Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. Accessed from http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/briefs/wwb21.pdf

Nix, R. L., Bierman, K. L., Domitrovich, C. E., & Gill, S. (2013). Promoting children’s social-emotional skills in preschool can enhance academic and behavioral functioning in kindergarten: Findings from Head Start REDI. Early Education & Development, 24(7), 1000-1019.

Trentacosta, C. J., & Fine, S. E. (2010). Emotion knowledge, social competence, and behavior problems in childhood and adolescence: A meta‐analytic review. Social Development, 19(1), 1-29.

ZERO TO THREE (2010). Tips for promoting social and emotional development. Washington, DC. Accessed from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/225-tips-for-promoting-social-emotional-development

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2.4: Work with providers/teachers and staff to create a culturally inclusive, positive school and classroom climate

Culturally Inclusive Classroom icon

Culturally responsive practices include intentionally teaching social skills, raising expectations of all children, and recognizing children’s positive behaviors in the context of their own culture. Teachers need to reflect on their own culture, lives, and biases. Focusing on good intentions and valuing diversity can help teachers, families, and children better understand each other. Culturally responsive practices need to be based on cultural awareness and an understanding of families, their experiences, and their cultural context. Understanding children’s culture helps teachers work better with their children and helps reduce suspensions and expulsions at your school.

Family-school partnerships are critical for all children. There are many benefits to healthy school-family partnerships, including in issues associated with expulsions and suspensions. When families and providers have a positive relationship, they can discuss children’s needs and strategies to meet those needs, well before exclusionary discipline is considered. Strong relationships also enable teachers to have a better understanding of what factors in the child’s home life may be contributing to their behavior in the classroom. This understanding can lead to empathy, and a more productive process for identifying and meeting children’s needs. Learning from families about their culture and customs is an important part of building an inclusive school climate. Family involvement can help reduce suspensions and expulsions in your school and has a positive impact on children’s learning and development and on their social, academic, and health outcomes throughout their lives. Family-school partnerships can also be very meaningful to families.

Check out this video of a mother and school organizer talking about how her child’s preschool teacher has worked to engage her, how important it was, and lessons for building connections between homes, schools, and communities.

See Recommendation 1.2 for more information about partnering with families, and Recommendation 2.2 for more on changing classroom environments.

How do I do this?

Step 1. Discuss and reflect. Work with your staff to set norms for your discussion.

  • These might include the following:
    • Self-expression: Respect that people express themselves in different ways. This might be based on culture, upbringing, region, personal quirks, etc.
    • Use “self-focus” and use “I” statements: Begin by talking about your own experience. It is helpful to make “I” statements when you talk about your experience, instead of saying “you,” “we,” or “one.” This makes space for many perspectives to be shared, especially when they are different.
    • It is OK to disagree and not OK to blame, shame, or attack ourselves or others because of our differences: It is important to let go of the need to think, be, or act the same as everyone else.
    • Be aware of intent and impact: Be aware that your good intentions may have a negative impact, especially across racial, gender, or other cultural differences. Be open to hearing the impact of the things you say and do.
    • Confidentiality: Personal sharing can be vulnerable. You can carry the teamwork of the group and what you learn out of the group. Let others tell their own stories. (These ideas are based on work from Visions Inc.)
  • Hold staff discussions about how to understand and accept children’s cultural context and shrink the discipline gap. Talk about the times when you expect children to conform to school norms, and when you accept children’s and families’ norms.
  • Hold respectful discussion between families and staff. Talk about how children’s home life and school life are different to better understand how children act.
  • Talk about the rules, discipline, and behavior expectations at home and at school. Come up with clear expectations about respecting home culture and adapting to school expectations.
  • Talk about race, gender, and ability and how to promote equity
    • Try to answer the question “Would a child need to give up who he or she is to fit into this program?”
      • Children cannot “turn off” their cultural identity or their disability and it is up to staff to make accommodations that both allow the children to participate and for the goals of the classroom to be met.
    • Talk about what data show about disproportionality of discipline.
    • Talk about why diversity is good and how to value diversity in your program.
    • Find out what staff and parents have in common and where their expectations are different to try to build cultural awareness.
  • Helpful resources to use for staff discussion and reflection:
    • This activity is designed to help children think about their communities, but it can be a useful tool for helping staff consider their community makeup and needs.
    • Use these quizzes from EdChange to help start conversations about culture and bias.

Step 2. Identify training needs. Work with your staff to set norms for your discussion. These might include the following:

  • Talk to your staff to answer the following questions:
    • Where does training need to be targeted?
    • Do staff have specific training requests?
  • Identify opportunities for professional development and growth to make sure that discussion and reflection have an effect on practice.

Step 3. Plan a course of action. Help teachers create written strategies for how to make the school climate more positive and inclusive.

  • Work with teachers to try using this self-assessment from the IDEA Data Center (IDC). It can help evaluate your school’s use of data and culturally responsive teaching to help all children succeed.
  • Use the checklists, practice guides, and video examples developed by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center to identify specific things your teachers can do to promote an inclusive environment that promotes natural learning opportunities for all children.
  • Be inclusive of families who speak languages other than English.
    • Try to hire staff who speak common second languages in your area.
    • Translate learning materials and other visual materials into children’s home languages.
    • Make sure materials for parents are translated into their home languages.
  • Promoting social-emotional development (Recommendation 2.3), having appropriate developmental expectations (Recommendation 1.3), and practicing positive discipline (Recommendation 2.2) are all part of creating a positive and inclusive school environment.

Step 4. Provide coaching and feedback. Coaching should teach anti-bias education, cultural awareness, and how to bring the desired practices into the classroom. There should be clear expectations about how training will help bring equity and diversity into everyday practices. Check your progress and talk about new needs on a regular basis (e.g., once a year, or as needed, such as when staff change). Reflect again on current strengths and needs, and plan a course of action.

Step 5. Create formal policies and procedures. Formal policies and procedures help establish culturally inclusive practices as a way of doing business for your program that is infused into the classroom materials and communication with parents and families. Policies and procedures on preventing suspensions and expulsions should be clearly communicated to staff.

  • In classrooms, teachers should have bulletin boards, posters, newsletters, etc., to show families what is available and demonstrate your engagement. Posters should reflect diversity and show different types of children and families.
  • Work to create a positive school climate by reflecting equity and diversity in your books. Check out this list of children’s books on bias, diversity, and justice from the Anti-Defamation League.
  • Establish communication pathways. Create opportunities for regular positive communication among staff and between staff and families. Keep regular conversation open about staff needs.

Step 6. Express gratitude and acknowledge progress. Recognize staff who have worked hard and made progress using new practices. Encourage teachers to acknowledge one another. This creates a culture of support and recognition.

  • In regular staff emails or newsletters, add a “shout out” section where administrators and other staff can submit a brief comment about a colleague’s hard work (e.g., “Thanks Ms. Johnson for reflecting and talking honestly and encouraging others during professional development. Your time and dedication to this process are greatly appreciated!”).
  • Administrators can personally call or send handwritten notes to thank teachers who are working hard to put training into practice and reflect on their teaching practices. Let your staff know that you see their hard work!

What Barriers Might I Run Into and What Are Solutions?

Potential Barrier: I don’t know how to influence or change my classroom or school climate.
Solution: You already have the tools to be a leader and help your staff create positive classroom and school environments. Here are some tips from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on changing school climates:

  • Have a “growth mindset” about yourself and your staff. Be willing to work together, have patience, and find ways to recognize success.
  • Reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses; be honest with your staff to build trust and break the ice.
  • Make staff morale and school culture a priority. Be a good listener and show that you value teamwork with staff and with families.
  • Listen to staff! Be understanding when your staff are uncomfortable, and be open to hearing about their concerns and suggestions for ways improve the school climate and reduce suspensions and expulsions.
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Open and honest conversation and work to change school culture take courage, and you can lead the way for your staff!
  • Don’t be afraid if things don’t work immediately. Change takes time and often multiple tries. You don’t have to be perfect to be an example for your staff of how to create a positive school and classroom climate and be an advocate for children in your program .

Potential Barrier:I and/or my staff are uncomfortable talking about diversity, culture, race, gender, and ability in our school and the way they affect discipline.
Solution: That is OK! Many people feel uncomfortable talking about cultural contexts and racial, gender, and ability differences. Talking about bias should being with understanding what implicit bias is, that it is present in all people and institutions around the world, and that there are ways to address it. Discussion and reflection are key to building cultural awareness and creating a positive school climate, so your willingness to try is very important!

  • Before starting a conversation about implicit bias, inequity, and discipline, create a safe and welcoming space for staff to have an honest conversation. Work as a group to create ground rules for how everyone will contribute.
  • Check out this resource from EdChange for educators leading dialogue and reflection about diversity and equity. It includes steps to help you prepare and suggests ground rules, icebreakers, ways to reflect, and group activities.
  • The PBIS website has recommendations for addressing discipline disproportionality that can be helpful in starting your discussions! Under “Presentations” on the PBIS website, there is an Equity and PBIS two-part presentation that can help you talk to your staff and start group reflection.
  • For more information on how to include children with disabilities in your program and why this is important see this resource from the U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services.
  • Start small and then grow! Begin a conversation by talking about the posters and books that are available and how making them more diverse can help change school and classroom climate. Check out this list of children’s books on bias, diversity, and justice.
  • The book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most is a useful tool for any person or group who is learning how to talk about tough topics productively.

Potential Barrier: My staff and I are excited to engage families but are not getting many responses back.
Solution: Parents are sometimes unsure about engaging with teachers in school and out of school. Many things can stop parents from wanting to engage: language barriers, lack of time or transportation, not understanding how much it can help their child, lack of confidence that they can make a difference, feeling that they are not welcome at the school, or previous bad experiences with schools. These are hard things for you as staff to work against, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort! Even though it may take time, showing genuine interest in including families will help improve classroom climate and help teachers better understand children. It may take time to build interest and trust from the families, but using some of the strategies we have outlined here persistently over time should pay off.

  • Hold school events at times when working families can join in. Let them visit your site and see the hard work you have put into making it inclusive and welcoming for families.
  • Co-plan family nights with diverse parents to allow families to share and express their cultures with staff, other children, and families in the program/school.
  • Create a bulletin board or another easily accessible place for families to share their home photos showing the diverse home cultures.
  • Start a home visiting program that will let your staff connect with families in their own space. This can help build a respectful connection between families and staff that will help children grow and give teachers a resource aside from suspensions and expulsions when behavior problems come up.
  • Try making a bulletin board that shows how many home visits staff have made and how many parents have visited the school. Show families and teachers what your goal is and the progress you have made!
  • Check out these 19 tips for engaging families from EdChange.

Where do I go for more resources?

References

Elementary & Middle Schools Technical Assistance Center (n.d.). Disproportionality: The disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minorities in special education: Frequently asked questions. EMSTAC Disproportionality. Retrieved from http://www.emstac.org/registered/topics/disproportionality/faqs.htm

Great Schools Partnership (2016). Equity. The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/equity/

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2015). Building a school culture that supports teacher leadership: Advice from teachers and principals. Retrieved from http://www.doe.mass.edu/edeval/leadership/BuildingSchoolCulture.pdf

Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory Into Practice, 31(2), 132–141.

National Education Association (2008). Promoting educators’ cultural competence to better serve culturally diverse students. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB13_CulturalCompetence08.pdf

Russ, E. (2014). Zero tolerance, zero benefits: the discipline gap in American public k-12 education. New voices in public policy. George Mason University School of Public Policy. Retrieved from journals.gmu.edu/newvoices/article/download/485/389

Trumbell, E. & Pacheco, M. (2005). Leading with diversity. Providence, RI: The Education Alliance at Brown University. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED494221.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Policy statement on family engagement from the early years to the early grades. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/files/policy-statement-on-family-engagement.pdf

Weinstein, C. S., Tomlinson-Clarke, S., & Curran, M. (2004). Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management. Journal of teacher education, 55(1), 25-38.

U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services (2015). Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/inclusion/index.html

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