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Emotional Development

  • 1.  Emotional Development

    Posted 09-23-2019 01:54 PM
    Okay, I have been in early childhood education for some 30 years. Within that time, we have been working diligently on developmentally appropriate practices as supported in our Code of Ethical Conduct and all our position statements and guidelines. I have lived this with all the families and children I have worked with. Now, I am a grandma and what I see happening with my own grand baby is breaking my heart. I can do nothing about it. She is in a NAEYC accredited childcare facility in a college town. Initially, all seemed to be fine. She was making great friends and loved her teachers in her two year old classroom. With one child, she became extremely close and so did the parents. The two children would even sit on the little couches sharing (in a toddler sort of way) books and stories with each other. Well end of spring came with an announcement that the children were to be moved to new classrooms and new teachers. These two were being separated and my grandchild wasn't to be with even any of the other children she played with. When requested, the administrators all refused to honor the request of both families to keep these two children together. As grandma, I even requested for her emotional well-being that they be kept together. Well, they refused. The implication my daughter felt was they were separating children by activity levels. This makes no sense as new children were coming in so not sure how one would know activity levels. This is not only inappropriate, but not something doable. My grand daughter, at the age of 3, everyday doesn't want to go to school. She says school makes her nervous. (I did give her the book F is for Feelings and letter N is nervous so guessing that is how she knows that word). I have always believed in our honor system of protecting our children and families. But now I feel like no one has to follow the guidelines and if not wanting to don't have to. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. As this continues, it is breaking my heart and faith in our professional guidelines daily.

    Diana Hurst
    Johnson County Community College
    Stilwell KS

  • 2.  RE: Emotional Development

    Posted 09-25-2019 10:04 PM
    I'm sorry to hear this about your granddaughter.    I have taught twins and have advocated for them to be separated to see if distractions would decrease.    Unless there are behavior concerns, I cannot think of any reason to separate young classmates who have a bond.    Emotional stability is key to academic success.

    Michele McCrum
    Head Start
    Warsaw IN

  • 3.  RE: Emotional Development

    Posted 10-03-2019 04:14 PM
    I know that this is a hard thing to reconcile sometimes, especially as you are deeply invested in this particular situation with your own granddaughter.  There are so many factors that go into class placement, however, and often, directors and teachers need to make hard decisions about the best fit for the the largest number of children.  Many times, these influencing factors are not things that can be directly shared - teacher or parent requests; personality conflicts between children or between parents and teachers; the balance of social or developmental needs; etc. - and often, there are straight logistical factors that must be considered, including balancing age, gender, or scheduling (one teacher should not have all of the half-timers, for example).

    One of the other things to consider is that teachers and directors may use class placement as a means of introducing new relationships or pushing children to expand their social circles.  Children and parents (parents sometimes more so than the children!) often choose one strong friend and it prevents them from building the necessary social skills for successful future interactions.  There have been times when we have intentionally separated antagonistic children because they trigger each other behaviorally, but there are also times when we have chosen to separate very tight pairs in order to allow each individual to find his/her own identity.  If a child can only function in the classroom within the context of a pair, that will make later separation even more difficult and, as hard as it may seem at first, that year just before going into "big school" is a crucial one for building those skills in a safe place.

    I would assume/hope that your granddaughter has opportunities to see her former bestie during the day to enable them to maintain their relationship. In our school, playground time, meals, and after school care afford lots of time to mix with all of the children. What we have found is that being able to navigate the day with a new group of friends while still having the security of familiar faces throughout the day offers a great preparation for pre-K and kindergarten where children may ultimately attend different schools. The first few weeks of school can be hard for children tightly tied to one another, but the benefits of making new friends while keeping the old far outweigh the difficulties in this short period of grieving.

    So keep being a supportive Grandmama and trust that it will eventually get better or at least easier for her.

    Holly Dalferes
    George Cottage at St Martin's Episcopal School
    Metairie LA

  • 4.  RE: Emotional Development

    Posted 10-04-2019 09:10 AM
    I think this center has a long waiting list. It doesn't sound like they are relating to these families very well. If they have good reasons for the separation they should be able to express them better or even compromise them.

    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT

  • 5.  RE: Emotional Development

    Posted 10-04-2019 02:06 PM
    I am so sorry that this is happening to your granddaughter. She shouldn't have to go through this at such a young age especially at the age of three. I have noticed from being a student teacher while in college that when children get separated from each other in a another classroom can be difficult on them. Sometimes children will cry when they are not around their friends. Young children have a special bond with each other when they become friends when they are young. Being placed in a new classroom can be hard for young children, because they want to be with their friends in other classrooms.  Continue to be your granddaughter's support system and friend

    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO