Early Childhood Mental Health Success Story

February 1, 2024

Teacher learns the importance of children’s need for connection

The Family Conservancy’s (TFC) Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) team provides support to teachers in the early learning setting to help them support the healthy social-emotional development of children. One mode of support is through consultation services and training. Recently, thanks to funding from the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County, one teacher saw a big payoff to what she learned in a recent training. 

The professional development session, ‘Brain States, Safety, and Connection’ provided in December 2023, is designed to help classroom teachers shift their perspective about children’s need for connection so they can handle behaviors more positively. In January, TFC’s staff member followed up on the event with the program administrator and lead teacher, Ms. M, in a preschool classroom. Ms. M shared with the ECMH staff member:

“One of the children in the classroom was having a really hard time and I remembered what we talked about at the training. I asked him if he needed connection and he said yes. I did the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song [with the connection tips you taught me] with him and he climbed into my lap. It really worked!”

Ms. M went on to report that the classroom had been struggling at mealtime. In the training, she learned big behaviors are a sign children are struggling with transitions and need to develop new skills. Ms. M introduced a new book in a fun, and playful way to introduce expectations around meal times, and this approach made mealtime much smoother for Ms. M and the children! 

These small moments of connection and progress with the children made Ms. M excited to learn more ways to support their social-emotional development.