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Parents and Schools Working Together to Promote Resiliency in Early Childhood

Amanda Waters

Presentation Outline
1. Why this topic? 2. What is resiliency?

3. How schools can foster resiliency


4. How parents can foster resiliency

5. Parents and schools working together

Why This Topic?


Inspired by the Mental Health Capacity Project in Alberta schools which aim to increase resiliency (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/2754.asp) There are many bright spots amongst children who face adversity such as abuse, poverty, racism, neglect, bullying, and learning disabilities Resilient children are less prone to addiction and mental health issues Teachers, school administration, and parents can all work together to promote resiliency
Brooks, 2006

What is Resiliency?
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after adversity All over the world are examples of people who were able to bounce back in a big way after facing adversity

Brooks, 2006

Some Familiar Faces

What do They Have in Common?

All of these people faced adversity, but were able to overcome it and thrive

Schools Building Resiliency

Why Schools?
Resiliency is an ecological phenomenon that involves all the environments in a childs life The family has the greatest impact on a childs life, however, home is not always a positive place for children Children spend a lot of time at school, and a positive school environment can help reduce the risks and increase protective factors
Brooks, 2006

What are Protective Factors?


Protective factors are positive aspects in a persons life that help counteract against risk factors (such as poverty, abuse, racism), and increase resiliency Some examples of protective factors are: Having a good relationship with parents, extracurricular activities, positive self-esteem, an easy temperament, positive role models

How Schools Help


Look beyond teaching only to the curriculum emotional intelligence is important, too! Caring relationships with teachers and support staff Set students up for success and have high expectations Prevention and Intervention programs are especially effective during elementary years
Brooks & Goldstein, 2008 King, Vidourek, Davis, & McClellan, 2002 Weiss, 2008

Prevention & Intervention Programs


Its best to start these programs during elementary years Identify high risk children from an early age Some examples of effective programs: - Mentorship - Friendship groups - Boys/Girls Clubs - Extracurricular activities
King, Vidourek, Davis, & McClellan, 2002

Teachers Promoting Resilience


Teach emotional intelligence Provide a role model/caring adult

Have high, but realistic, expectations


Positive classroom environment

Identify children who need extra support


Brooks & Goldstein, 2008 Brooks, 2006 Nickolite & Doll, 2008

How Parents Can Promote Resiliency

Why Parents?
Family is the most important protective factor in a childs life Even if a child has risk factors such as a learning disability or difficult temperament, good parenting can help a child overcome those obstacles Parents have the power to create positive self esteem and happy memories

Brooks, 2005 Brooks, 2006

Raising a Resilient Child


Some simple things parents can do to increase resiliency in their children are:
Have a strong relationship with each child Make your child feel special and appreciated Teach them to set goals Teach them how to solve problems Help them identify their emotions Give them some autonomy
Brooks,

2005

Characteristics of a Resilient Parent


Empathetic validate what your child has to say You cant prevent your child from being scared or sad, but you can prevent them from being scared or sad alone

See their children as individuals


Communicate and Listen Effectively Apologize when youre wrong help your child see mistakes as opportunities Be involved in your childs life
Brooks, 2005

Parents and Schools Working Together

Why the Need to Work Together?


Higher levels of parental involvement in school activities have been shown to improve school performance Strong school performance is a protective factor! School is a major part of a childs life, and being involved in your childs life is important in promoting healthy attitudes When parents work together with teachers, they create an environment where the student is well supported and has high expectations Parents and schools communicating is essential to a positive school environment

Elias, Parker, & Rosenblatt, 2005 Nickolite & Doll, 2008 Weiss, 2008

Summary
Parents and teachers are two of the most important protective factors in a childs life Children who are at higher risk can thrive in life with love, compassion, and support

References
Brooks, J. (2006). Strengthening resilience in children and youths: Maximizing opportunities through the schools. Children & Schools, 28, 69-77. Brooks, R. B. (2005). The power of parenting. In Goldstein, S. & Brooks, R. B. (Eds.). Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 297-314). Seracous, NJ: Springer.

Elias, M. J., Parker, S., Rosenblatt, J. L. (2005). Building educational opportunity. In Goldstein, S. & Brooks, R. B. (Eds.). Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 315-335). Seracous, NJ: Springer
King, K. A., Vidourek, R. A., Davis, B., & McClellan, W. (2002). Increasing self-esteem and school connectedness through a multidimensional mentoring program. Journal of School Health, 72, 294-299. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2002.tb01336x Nickolite, A., & Doll, B. (2008). Resilience applied in schools. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 23, 94-113. doi:10.1177/0829573508316596 Weiss, L. G. (2008). Toward the mastery of resilience. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 23, 127137. doi:10.1177/0829573508316600