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Too Much Stress
May 26, 2016
The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.
-Eric Hoffer in The Passionate State of Mind
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"In early childhood, the most important force shaping the development of qualities such as grit and resilience turns out to be a surprising one: stress."  This is the conclusion of Paul Tough in his article, "How Kids Learn Resilience," in The Atlantic (June 2016).  He explains...

"On a cognitive level, chronically elevated stress can disrupt the development of ... executive functions: higher order mental abilities... which include working memory, attentional control, and cognitive flexibility [which are exceptionally helpful in navigating unfamiliar situations and processing new information, which is exactly what we ask children to do at school every day....

"For children who grow up without significant experiences of adversity, the skill-development process leading up to kindergarten generally works the way it is supposed to: Calm, consistent, responsive interactions in infancy with parents and other caregivers create neural connections that lay the foundation for a healthy array of attention and concentration skills.  Just as early stress sends signals to the nervous system to maintain constant vigilance and prepare for a lifetime of trouble, early warmth and responsiveness send the opposite signals: You're safe; life is going to be fine.  Let down your guard; the people around you will protect you and provide for you.  Be curious about the world; it's full of fascinating surprises.  These messages trigger adaptations in children's brains that allow them to slow down and consider problems and decisions more carefully, to focus their attention for longer periods, and to more willingly trade immediate gratification for promises of long-term benefits."






Now more than ever, adults must help children develop the skills necessary to navigate through life successfully. By focusing on building social and emotional strength, we increase children's resilience and prepare them to handle the challenges in life. The strategies and activities in Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure: 50 Activities to Promote Resilience in Young Children help children become socially and emotionally healthy for life. Organized into five chapters, the activities support and build resilience in children ages 3 to 8.

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Brookes: Boost Early Literacy Skills!
Children Learning With Nature Training Institute - JULY 2016
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