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Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

  • 1.  Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 06-02-2020 05:28 PM

    "Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare" is now available as part of the Virtual Institute.  This presentation discusses the issue of suspension and expulsion of young children from community childcare settings.  We know that young children, and especially children of color, are at high risk for being suspended from early learning programs.  Programmatic and staff factors may impact these rates (although that's not what we found in our study).  As this session was originally designed as a think tank to discuss and develop potential strategies, interventions, and systemic/policy changes for addressing expulsion at the program, local, and/or state level, I invite you to continue the conversation here. 

    Some potential conversation starters:

    • Discuss things being done at the program, local, or state level to prevent or address the issue of early childhood expulsion in community childcare programs. 
    • Describe ideas for strategies, interventions, or systemic/policy changes that have not yet been tried
    • Ask questions about our study, the methods, or the results 
    • Make a public commitment to take action  (and perhaps look for people willing to join you in this work)
    • Further expand on the topic… ask questions…. share resources (data, articles)

    I am looking forward to continuing the conversation and collaborating to find creative solutions to help expel expulsion!!



    ------------------------------
    Keri Giordano, Psy.D.
    Assistant Professor, Advanced Studies in Psychology
    Kean University, Union, NJ

    KGiordan@kean.edu
    (908) 737- 5987
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 06-04-2020 09:04 AM
    Keri, thank you for starting this discussion. One of the primary things we can do about expulsion in my view is train teachers about the new information we have about neurobiology.. And one of the primary issues we need to teach is to sooth aggressive behavior and avoid all types of punishment and even disappointment. The genes of such children have learned from their environment to do these behaviors. Soothing gets the child past their fight responses, which are impulsive and thus ineffective, to where they can do, when calm, some thinking about their behavioral responses. Calming the aggressive child has dramatic effects, but is still rarely used.

    ------------------------------
    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 06-05-2020 11:55 AM
    Yes, Jack is right.  Teachers do need more professional development.  For the classroom with a child who is so difficult to guide (discipline) that the personnel are considering expulsion, we found great success when a master/mentor teacher would actually interact with the children.  This professional development offers the staff opportunities to see strategies being used as well as observing the child's behavior before, during and after the unacceptable situation.  Ideally, staff  would then implement the strategy with the child while the mentor is observing.

    Frequently when we had a child with such extreme behaviors, we would hire another staff member part time to assist in the classroom. This enabled the teacher to closely work with the child.

    One time we had a returning child for our summer program.  Our master teacher wanted and did have my support (as Director) that if the child came with behaviors that were extreme, we would ask the parent to find a different program.  What happened was beautiful.  From the start, the teacher kept the child with her throughout the day. A strong relationship developed between the two of them.  And, guess what?  The inappropriate behaviors were limited.  Each week the child's behavior improved.  By the fall, when the child left to attend Kindergarten, the teacher was in tears saying 'goodbye'.

    I hope that my comments with 'spark' some ideas for you.  I do have a colleague writing a dissertation on the expulsion of preschool children.  Let me know if you would like her contact information.

    Deb Moberly
    President & Founder
    Children 1st.

    If  achers are able

    ------------------------------
    Deborah Moberly
    President
    Children 1st
    University Cy MO
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 30 days ago
    Deborah:
    I love your description of the returning child and their relationship with their teacher.  In our program we often cite Dr. Stuart Shanker's work on stress and self-regulation, which is, as Jack Wright advocates, based on brain science.  A basic tenet is that co-regulation is the basis of self-regulation.  Your teacher was co-regulating with this child--lending the child their calm, being their outside regulator and building up their self-regulation skills.  The ability to self-regulate, understand your stress signals and work to lessen them before exploding into hurtful behaviors, takes a very long time and a lot of practice for some children to learn.  The goal for the adults should be to first find what stressors the child is reacting to and try to lessen them.  We need to feel safe in order to have access to our frontal lobe where reasoning and self-regulation are active.  It sounds like your teacher made this child feel very safe so that the stress behavior--too easily labeled as misbehavior--was calmed.  What a gift you all gave this child and family.  Thank you, Jack, for always reminding us of the importance of neurobiology.

    If you're interested in reading more from Dr. Shanker I recommend   https://self-https://self-reg.ca and the book Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators. The website has some videos and information sheets also.

    Another book I've learned a lot from is Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges by Mona Delahooke. I'm not a person who loves reading about science or theory and these books were informative, practical, and beautifully articulate.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hello,

    That's a great way to deal with any child who may have behavioral issues. I live in the UAE and it is not the practice here to expel any child from a preschool. There is strong collaboration between parents, teaching staff, leadership and if necessary external specialist staff, always working in the best interests of the child. If the child requires additional support within the environment, then this will be provided. In some cases if we are dealing with a 'child of determination'     (a term used in the UAE for children with special needs), then if the nursery is unable to support him/her an appropriate environment will be considered. It's not always easy to find alternative settings for children of determination and it can work out to be expensive. The majority of preschools here are private.

    In the US, I'm  curious to know what happens when a child is expelled, where does he/she go? I imagine that this will have a negative impact on the view that the child has about school, if he/she is excluded at such an early age.

    Looking forward to your response((s).

     Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Patricia Mezu
    Professional Minds FZ LLC
    www.prminds.org
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 27 days ago
    Mr. Wright,
    I take issue with your statement "The genes of such children have learned from their environment to do these behaviors."
    I will quote Dr. Walter Gilliam, a renowned Yale Researcher in Expulsion in Early childhood,  when he said "Expulsion is an Adult Decision" based on an educator's biases.  The aggression is not from the environment the child comes from as much as it is from the systemic racism in this country that has created hostile environments for children of color to live in.  Further, THE resolution lies in the ability for Early Childhood Educators to identify their bias and build an inclusive environment for learning through cultural competence. The goal here is not to deem a child aggressive and expel based on that behavior but for educators to understand their role in having children of color be seen, loved, and understood.
    Although Neurobiology studies the nervous system and brain function and how stress and trauma affect that system, we have to go back to what created this environment, this stress, this trauma and take responsibility, and change!


    ------------------------------
    Kezia Goodwin
    1970
    Durham NC
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  • 7.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 26 days ago
    Kezia, I'm not sure what you disagree with regarding my statement about the role of genes. I do see that you wanted me not to blame parents and notice the racial inequalities we still deal with. I do agree with everything you stated. I'm please that the current protest are going on and have two grandsons participating in them. I'm hoping that this protest is finding more general support; I see many white people in the crowds. Can we hope that Floyd's death will significantly change things. I'm an optimist and I think reaction is different than the many before.

    ------------------------------
    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 26 days ago

    I want to thank everyone for keeping this thread going. I think this issue is exactly where the rubber hits the road: this is how ECE shows that Black Lives Matter, this is how we change institutionalized racism in our corner of the word. As we know, our "corner" is a foundational corner. We have the potential to set kids up for successful lives, fulfilling relationships, stable work-life, and an all around strong sense of belonging. 

    As mentioned, we cannot underestimate the toll trauma and generational trauma takes on those who have experienced this. And it could be any of us, so compassion for self and others is always the first step. 

    I know that I benefit from including a self-examination of unconscious bias as part of my personal CQI process, a process that never ends. I also want to acknowledge how difficult it will be for us to create zero expulsion classrooms. The road to expulsion starts with challenging behaviors. Let's acknowledge that our days are already long, our job is complex and handling challenging behaviors is draining. In reality, every child that "isn't getting with the program" will actually require us to change the program.

    Anti bias calls us to adjust our mindset to accommodate every learner. For example after I accepted that circle time isn't the be all and end all of ECE learning, I no longer had to struggle with the children who acted out at circle time. A child who won't sit is not defiant, they just learn while in motion, so I need to make sure there is always an opportunity to engage while in motion, or engage while not at the circle. 

    I remind myself that the "bell curve" informs me that it is normal for there to be extremes. It really isn't easy to teach a child on the far tail end of the bell curve, and while compassion and accommodation are good, they may not get me far enough.

    Teachers are the ones who create and maintain the classroom climate, but we need more tools to create systemic change. We need our government legislators, our state regulators, and our directors to embrace anti bias right along with us. Beyond a proper living wage, I believe we need better child/adult ratios, less crowded classrooms with more space for individualizing, and more time in the day for nurturing.



    ------------------------------
    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 9.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 30 days ago
    I think teacher burn out and over crowded classrooms lead to expulsion. Teachers have a hard time managing the numbers of kids in their classroom. Then you have a behavior and we are already stretched thin with minimal support. Many times the other teacher is not certified and may have no training at all. It takes time to develop a bond and understand the behaviors but many times we as teachers don't have time to create that bond because there is so much else going on or we have a director, owner, higher paycheck paying person telling us what our room should look like that might not allow for us to do activities that are appropriate for that child or other children in the room.
    We are expected to bond with 20 students or more and then kids get jealous and act out or forgotten because they don't have behaviors and that causes behaviors.
    Another problem is teachers labeling once the kid has a behavior without looking  at why the behavior occurred. Lots of the time we don't have the time to spend one on one with that kid because numbers are so high. Prime example one year we had a kid who had extreme behaviors in his classroom. I had him during a school vacation week lower numbers another certified teacher with me and I had time to use icons and picture schedules and figure him out and we had minimal behavior problems that week.
    We as teachers can't focus on a bond with one child with so many needs in the classroom and it is one reason it causes burnout so rather than lose a teacher you lose one kid.
    Please note these are experiences from many places and not a reflection on where I am now or anything negative towards where I was or am. Much of this is also observation of other places and centers.

    ------------------------------
    Hilary Peak
    Preschool/Toddler Teacher
    Worcester JCC
    Worcester MA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 30 days ago

    Hillary, that's depressing, but oh so true of so many situations. We need a government that pays for serious childcare. We can only hope that what we are doing is a little better than babysitting.  Be sure every adult you know gets out and votes this November. 

     






  • 11.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 29 days ago
    I have been in the ECE for over  forty years.For the last eight years I have been codirector at a center that is known for excellence. Leaving the classroom was the hardest thing I ever did in my professional career.  I do understand and cam empathize with your concerns,

    I feel some of the changes that have been made in the pursuit of excellence have had the opposite impact on our children.
    "Research based everything" has taken away the ability for spontaneity of teachers as well as impacted on teachers. As a director I regret many of the policies and procedures that I am now required to accept, train and mentor staff to follow.
    For example I got a low score in block play when evaluated using ECERS because the children created a moat with magna tiles  around a castle and throne and blocks they had cooperatively built using every block in the block area. The children should have been taught to keep center identified items in given so very sad.
    No longer could I have color paddles in art area as they belonged in science.   My science area was full of materials.  Now as  director, wishing for  high ECERS scores, it breaks my heart to tell staff materials must stay in appropriate areas.

    Lesson plans have become more rigid. I always Identified goals for children and kept attract of when goals were met. however  my last few years I had to indicate on lesson plan when and how I was going to interact with child to met goal.  Project Approach guided me for many years.  My lesson plan would say under directed activities for the week something like animal homes.  I was not sure where discussions would lead and what we would be doing but new it would involve all areas of curriculum..  I would have books selected for story time but seldom read as again children would select books from those in classroom or books from home.   I would problem solve with the kids evaluating if book would work at story time, small group time, or with the child individually.   Some books from home were not read. Oops we can't read religious books hear or books that encouraged hurting etc.

    The behavior problems you discussed were less evident because we were all connected as classroom family.  Many things are impacting what you are experiencing today in your classroom.   I do not feel that every young child has the temperament for learning best in framework required in our centers. Eg. We must go in now as another class is coming out.  Time to clean up as lunch will be here in three minutes. Most easily comply but for some this causes great conflict. I tell staff and parents both mittens and gloves keep our hands warm but some of us prefer gloves and others prefer mittens. The  same is true for a young child and their parents as they experience ECE curriculum.
    Captain Kangaroo once said trust your heart and share with each child a love for learning.  I end by sharing that I have never shared on this site or really any site. In the future I will try to more brief.  My concern for our ECE and what truly supports quality keeps me awake at night.
    I never dreamt that as I look toward retiring that ECE would be in the sad state affairs that it is now.
    Stay strong and believe that you matter.  You do!

    ------------------------------
    Maria Moehle
    program Director
    Discovery
    O Fallon IL
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 29 days ago
    Maria,
    Thank you for your heart breaking, oh so accurate, description of the pressures on Directors to run programs in ways that we know are not in the best interests of children. We need systemic supports and changes - and - somehow we also need to stand up to the pressures that keep us from doing what children need. I know it can get us in trouble. But we have to say "No" to ECERS when it requires color pads stay in the science area (or - one recent struggle at our center - when it says costumes must be divided by "appropriate" gender!). After 40 years in your work - you have built up great wisdom and experience. Push back. Write a letter supporting your decisions to let children build using materials from many parts of your room. Alert your Board, or Principal, or whoever is above you to why you have made different decisions. Use these last precious years as you move towards retirement to be even more of an advocate as you have already been. And thank you for speaking out here.

    ------------------------------
    [Julie] [Olsen Edwards]
    Soquel CA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 29 days ago
    Maria, I'm a developmental scientists. What you describe gives science a bad name. I think your curriculum is non-scientists trying to appear to be using science. For my strongest example, research on teaching style finds being attuned to the child's interests and needs promotes learning and pushing information does not. Going way back to Vigotsky and Dewey, early childhood education needs to find developmentally appropriate moments of interest and reinforce that attention. That's science. And, what's this "gender appropriate" thing? Are you in Texas? I have a son working in Texas who tells me many think you're not being a good parent if you don't spank your child.

    ------------------------------
    Jack Wright
    Child Development Consultant
    Success With Children
    St Ignatius MT
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Jack,
    My center is in Illinois. I did not make the statement about gender specific clothing being separated. This was in a reply to my concern about center expectations based on ECERS.

    I did try to share in the past that science learning took place in as many centers as possible. Teachers asked engaging questions enhancing natural curiosity. Children were allowed to take materials from one center to another as long as it was used constructively. eg  A tray from the art area might become a ramp in the block area. W understood the difference between science experiment and science experience.  Problem solving and conflict resolution went hand in hand.  What I was also want to stress is that when children are allowed to do so they are quite able at engaging in activities that are challenging.  Seldom do children select the frustration level or too easy level in a rich environment.  I feel curriculum now leads to frustration for some children as well as teachers as referenced in the email I was responding to.

    Illinois has made wonderful progress in providing quality.  For many years ECE has been on the front burner of our politicians.  As someone who has watched the pendulum swing  back and forth from a variety of best practice issues I realize that it will take time for ECE to come to terms with balancing outcome requirements with teachers and children's needs.  The trickle down impact will be more peaceful classrooms.

    ------------------------------
    Maria Moehle
    program Director
    Discovery
    O Fallon IL
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 28 days ago

    Maria, sorry. I misunderstood your post. 

     






  • 16.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 28 days ago
    Maria and Julie:
    I'm so sorry that you find yourselves in the dilemma of having to go by narrow definitions of narrow standards that aren't supporting children's development appropriately.  I hope that you have a way to stretch those standards and to push back.  It reminds me of high stakes testing--one size does not fit all.  And I would argue that the "appropriate gender" is that which a child chooses.  One year when I was teaching I took out all clothes and costumes from the dress up area and replaced them with bandannas, scarves, and other pieces of material.  The kids made wonderful clothes on their own and there was no gender labeling involved.  Of course, now, at least here, there are no clothes or other cloth items allowed.  I hope that you're successful in finding work-arounds that support the creativity of children and teachers.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hi everyone and thank you for continuing this important conversation.
    This dialogue makes me reflect on our study results, which generally found that the aspects of program quality that we assessed (director education level, NAEYC accreditation, QRIS participation, adult:child ratios) did not have a relationship to lower suspension and expulsion rates.  Although this could be due to a variety of study limitations, I notice the theme here of sensitive and responsive relationships, and this was not specifically considered in our work.  This is definitely a next step for us and I would love to collaborate with others interested in looking into this area further.

    The other thing that comes to mind when reading the responses is the lack of a strong support system for children who have social-emotional/behavioral needs that aren't being met.  Early childhood teachers enter the field because they love children.  As discussed, there are high expectations placed on teachers.  When a child demonstrates behaviors that challenge teachers, teachers often simply do not know what to do.  Often these behaviors make for safety concerns, which is why programs turn to suspension and expulsion.  While there have been some excellent strategies suggested here, I believe our challenge may be in ensuring that teachers have access to these strategies.  How can we make sure that teachers are aware of potential interventions (and how to use them and when)?

    In addition to widespread knowledge of interventions, we must have systems of referral in place for children with mental health needs that cannot be met by teachers (for example, early trauma).  If a network of mental health professionals trained to meet needs of infants, young children, and families is available and accessible perhaps many of these expulsions will result in referral to appropriate treatment options and systems of care instead?

    I am grateful for this conversation, especially as children across the country begin to transition back to early learning settings.....

    ------------------------------
    Keri Giordano, Psy.D.
    Assistant Professor, Advanced Studies in Psychology
    Kean University, Union, NJ

    KGiordan@kean.edu
    (908) 737- 5987
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 28 days ago

    Keri, when will we see the neural biology of behavior talk to early childhood educators? They need to understand how the amygdala works and how calming aggressors can lead to more use of their PFC.  Jack

     






  • 19.  RE: Expelling Expulsion in Community Childcare Programs- Continuing the Conversation

    Posted 23 days ago
    I listened to Keri's presentation. It was not a scientific talk about the science behind the expulsions but laid out the landscape of expulsions and suspensions in the early childhood community preschools with emphasis on NJ. Even with that, Keri stated that she still needs to look at aspects that were overlooked, like SES, gender, and other variables.

    Of course, genes and the environment interact. The work on epigenetics explores how the two are intertwined in determining how genes are expressed.

    We need both types of research - the overview of what is happening and the science of the brain, and then the scientists involved in both need to sit down and discuss what is and what can be done to reduce these behaviors that are leading to expulsion and suspension of young children. In addition, we also need to compare the types of environments and behaviors of adults, which reduce child behaviors that lead to expulsion and suspension from school.

    As has been expressed here by some participants, some children have issues that are very extreme (no matter how they came about) where centers that are not geared to working with children with learning and behavior issues are unable to perhaps understand or cope with those children. Not every child's issues are able to be dealt with in an inclusive setting. Let us all use commonsense. I have a grandchild whose issues may have been exacerbated in an inclusive classroom setting but are now being very well dealt with in a private school geared to children where they are referred to as "twice gifted" - behavior issues and intellectual gifts co-existing.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------