Ms. Hitomi, Ms. Veronica, and I were invited to present at the annual Conference on the Young Years a few weeks ago. This was a great opportunity to share with a broad, state-wide audience of early education providers about the LUME Approach, UCCC, and our early childhood mental health consultation model. Ms. Hitomi and Ms. Veronica presented on supporting children’s emotions after loss. Their presentation focused on how they supported children in their classroom after the death of their chick, Fluffy. I shared about how we have embedded an early childhood mental health consultation model into our everyday practice at UCCC.

We also had the opportunity to attend the conference and learn. Here are things that I heard that really struck a chord with me.

Eric Litwin (author of the original Pete the Cat books) shared a story about how when he goes into kindergarten classrooms and asks if anyone wants to read a book, all of the children are excited and wanting to participate. When he asks the same question in a 3rd grade classroom, only a few of the children are excited and wanting to participate. Why do these children lose the excitement around reading over the course of three years of school? How can we continue to have children excited to read? How do we continue to have children excited to learn? I know that in early childhood we understand that it is all about learning through play and that allows children to drive their learning along with their interests. We lay the foundation for children to continue to be interested and engaged in learning.

Dr. Barbara Sorrels discussed how early trauma impacts the development of sensory processing. She discussed how the different sensory systems are organized and how sometimes challenging behaviors in children can be traced back to a delay in the development of one of the sensory systems. One of the things that she kept repeating over and over was the importance of ‘pattern, repetitive, rhythmic, touch, sound, and movement’ in early childhood, especially for children with trauma and/or sensory processing delays. This is something that we typically do really well in early childhood and it is also why we can have so much of an impact for young children who have experienced trauma. It is something that we need to make sure that we don’t lose in early childhood because it benefits ALL children.  

Post by Jessica Sims