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Paying Attention to Children’s Well-Being

Take your work seriously, but never yourself.
Margot Fonteyn (1919 – 1991), Prima Ballerina

Quality programs pay attention to all aspects of children’s well-being. Here are two resources that provide information to consider, one about children’s health and one about learning styles:

Writing on a health blog, Sandee LaMotte reports on a new study about children’s sleep:

“Elementary school children who took mindfulness training two times a week for two years slept an average of 74 extra minutes a night, a new study found. That boost in total sleep time included an additional 24 minutes of rapid eye movement (REM), the dream stage of sleep when memories are consolidated and stored.

‘The improvement in the rapid eye movement stage of sleep is really remarkable,’ said senior study author Ruth O'Hara, a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University."

And in the Exchange Essentials article collection, “Children with Challenging Behavior,” Julie Rose writes about positive strategies for supporting children with sensory integration challenges: “As a group of children walked slowly around the block near our school, they stopped often to look up at the tall trees in the neighborhood. Each time Ella came to a new tree she would reach her arms in the air, forming them into either a triangular or circular shape. ‘Look,’ her teacher said to the rest of the group, ‘Ella’s noticing the shape of the tree branches. She’s showing us that some trees are shaped more like triangles and some more like circles. Isn’t that right?’ Ella nodded. Other children began forming shapes with their arms as well, following Ella’s lead.

At first glance there may not seem to be anything remarkable about this vignette, but for Ella something very special was happening. She was learning that she could communicate her observations about the world around her in a way that was interesting to other children. And she was learning that her teacher was paying attention to her style of communication and cared what she had to ‘say.’ As a child with sensory integration challenges who does not frequently communicate with words, this was an important discovery for her.”

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