Partial Development of an Early Childhood Resource Manual

Dominique Beaulieu (2009)

This dissertation project reflects a portion of a larger project; the entire project comprises the development of a resource manual targeted for early childhoodeducators and caregivers to support their efforts to better understand and manage challenging child behaviors in the classroom and at home. The portions of the manualdeveloped for this dissertation project reflect the more clinical information to be included in the manual. Young children suffer stress and trauma reactions to a variety of experiences. Their reactions, when not managed effectively, can negatively impact their learning. Due to their developmental levels, young children need adult guidance to learn critical skills in emotion regulation and coping. They often learn these skills most effectively when teachers and caregivers work together to address children's emotional and behavioral challenges. Many professionals in the field of early childhood education (ECE) are pushing for an alignment of standards between ECE and K-12. For the purposes of this dissertation, ECE refers to preschool age children. The ECE standards in many states reflect a growing recognition that educators' practice and preservice training need to include child development knowledge. In light of this acknowledgement, institutions of higher education are faced with the daunting task of revamping their teacher education programs to include or improve preservice developmental curriculum, both in didactic material and practicum training. As ECE standards shift, early childhood educators will likely face the same challenges that K-12 teachers face within the current education reform movement; namely the expectation that they become "highly qualified" and increase measurable student academic performance. Unfortunately the current movement fails to account for the influence of social, cultural, and environmental factors on children's readiness to learn. This dissertation project offers teachers and caregivers relevant information related to a variety of stressful/traumatic experiences and Partial Development 2 child mental health disorders. It also provides these caretakers with useful intervention strategies that can be used in the classroom and/or at home to meliorate the child's maladaptive functioning. Information relevant to improving teacher-parent communication is also included in this project.