Children’s early years serve as a springboard for the rest of their lives. In this month’s Spotlight, we highlight resources to support early childhood professionals in providing nurturing environments where young children feel safe, bring their whole selves, and thrive.

Explore the three resources below, and be sure to read and subscribe to the WestEd E-Bulletin for more early childhood resources for caregivers, teachers, and providers.

Prioritizing Self-Care to Maximize Learner Success

Educators provide better service and care to others when they have been mindful of their own needs. This mindfulness is crucial because children, by nature, pick up on adult stress, which reduces their ability to be open and ready to engage and learn.

Our recent brief, Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Coronavirus Crisis: Supporting Personal Social and Emotional Well-Being, gives practical information and guidance on self-care. It describes self-care as paying adequate attention to and attending to one’s own physical and psychological health and wellness.

The brief includes sections on 

  • Healthy mindsets and behaviors
  • Identity, connectedness, belonging
  • Healthy boundaries and interactions
  • Seeking help

Download Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Coronavirus Crisis: Supporting Personal Social and Emotional Well-Being to learn more.

Caretaker and Toddler

Creating a Trauma-Informed Environment

Children returning to care providers and schools may struggle with processing grief and loss and many other issues related and unrelated to the pandemic. In this pre-pandemic R&D Alert article, early childhood experts share insights to help adults be a source of calm and safety for children. To do that, teachers must foster predictability and routine in the classroom and limit unexpected changes.

Read Healing Our Children: Insights on Trauma-Informed Practices in Education for more.

Developing and Sustaining Trauma-Healing Systems: Tips for District Leaders

District leaders play essential roles in implementing and sustaining trauma-healing systems so that every member of the education community can thrive. Leaders interested in strengthening trauma-informed practices at the district and school levels can start by providing professional learning opportunities to help all staff — instructional and non-instructional, including support staff, from the school receptionist to the cafeteria staff to the bus drivers — to understand what trauma is, how to notice and respond to it, and how it negatively impacts student success as well as the school and community culture and climate.

Read Trauma-Informed Education: Designing a System That Promotes Healing, Part Two for more information about making systemic change in schools and districts.

Resources to Support Early Childhood Development & Learning

Check out our most recent WestEd E-Bulletin, which explores other critical aspects of supporting infants, toddlers, and young learners, including:

  • Early grade assessment systems
  • Curriculum planning
  • Joyful reading routines

Together with early childhood educators and practitioners, WestEd strives to ensure young children have a healthy, secure, and robust introduction to education. Our research supports early intervention, childhood mental health, and high-quality educational experiences. WestEd shares evidence-based resources and tools with practitioners who need them most and offers technical help and professional development services for early childhood programs and systems. Learn more about Early Childhood Development & Learning at WestEd.

Our Trauma-Informed Practice & Resilience team works to ensure children grow by supporting child- and youth-serving systems. We provide expertise and resources to help overcome trauma and its effects and encourage environments designed for safe and engaged learning. Learn more about Trauma-Informed Practice & Resilience at WestEd.