And so the child looked into the basket that the strange old woman had given her, expecting food, or perhaps a warm blanket. Instead, there was a beautiful flower.
As she looked more closely, she noticed that on each of the leaves, a tiny word glistened, crafted from the finest of gems. The child trudged on, deep into the forest, with her peculiar treasure.
You have probably heard a lot of buzz about social-emotional learning, or SEL. Here’s some good news: There is significant overlap between the skills commonly described as social-emotional learning (SEL) and the protective factors of resilience. Researchers Gartrell and Cairone defined resilience, in fact, as “the ability to use social-emotional skills to overcome, or bounce back from, the effects of stress in one’s life” (Gartrell & Cairone 2014, p. 92).
But resilience, as studied by Dr. Ann Masten and others, can be even more specifically described, and doing so is really useful for early childhood educators. The protective factors that we can easily address in the classroom fall into four categories: relationships, initiative, self-regulation and executive functions, and cultural context and affirmation.
The great news is that ALL of these weave seamlessly through the developmentally appropriate practices that underpin high quality early care and education!
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child has recommended that early childhood education be viewed as an important component of societal efforts to promote resilience in all children. While we can’t do anything about the relationship that a parent may have with his or her children, we CAN provide children with a cozy network adult and peer relationships, and lots of vibrant experiences that promote self-efficacy, self-regulation, and executive function skills. Click below for a closer look at these protective factors!