I recently had the amazing opportunity to join my southwest Ohio friends at a “Mind in the Making” training in Columbus. A national campaign, “Mind in the Making: The Science of Early Learning” is a collaborative effort between the Families and Work Institute and the New Screen Concepts over the past eight years. It was my privilege to preview the “Mind in the Making” learning modules, which are presented as a series of twelve modules, each with a specific video showing the results of some research or an experiment.
What I liked most about the training is that it gave us, the “experts,” the opportunity to share what we know about child development and use that to connect with what was presented in the material and in the research clips. We were really encouraged to reflect on how we care for children and what we know about how children develop.
The biggest “ah-ha” for me was that many people have inappropriate expectations of young children. When an adult and child are interacting with each other, such as repeating a baby’s babble or mimics what the baby does for his or her enjoyment, the child forms an attachment with their caregiver. In a video that explored this attachment, the infant would make a sound or a face and the mother would make the same sound or face back to the child while smiling. Then, in the middle of the “game” the mother put on a “still-face:” she just stopped engaging in the normal interaction she was having with the infant. At first the infant kept trying to get the mother to respond before the infant became upset and began to cry, all the while looking up at the mother. Eventually the child stopped crying and just gave up; she just looked away.
That particular video really opened my eyes to how very important these connections are. I thought about the times when I was in the classroom as a preschool teacher and how it might have felt to a child when I wasn’t connecting with him or her. There are so many ways to connect and/or reconnect throughout the day that there isn’t a good excuse for it not to happen with each child. Eye contact, smiles, small gestures (and the list could go on) are so important.
Only a few states are offering these learning modules for child care providers and Ohio is one of them. With our first series beginning in less than a month, we’d like to offer readers of the blog an opportunity to win a copy of Ellen Galinsky’s revolutionary book, Mind in the Making. Comment to this blog post for one entry to win, or comment with a link to where you’ve shared this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll give you two entries! Contest will run through next Wednesday, 23 February, when we’ll announce the winner.
Even if you don’t win the book, take advantage of the opportunity to experience “Mind in the Making” and register today!