Instructor Carly Davenport
Family centered early childhood programs are just one category of the Early Childhood Education Program. This program offers the unique opportunity for families to be involved in their child’s education to the fullest extent. As an educator in a family centered program we must encourage certain behaviors from our children at school, and expect their parents to encourage these behaviors at home as well. These behaviors include: attachment, self-help skills, empowerment, pro-social skills, and self-esteem. Attachment is often an issue with family centered programs. “Attachment is the deep and enduring connection established between a child and caregiver in the first few years of life. It profoundly influences every component of the mind, body, emotions, relationships, and values. Disrupted attachment not only leads to emotional and social problems, but also results in biochemical consequences in the developing brain” (Levy, Orlans 1998a). At times the child has experienced attachment parenting from his mother or father and leaving them is a new and sometimes scary experience. There are different types of attachment. Some children are too attached to their care-givers, some seem to have a balance between attachment and independence, and others lack the ability to become attached to their care-giver. Those who are too attached may often cry at school for their parents, or even act out to get the same quality and quantity of attachment they receive at home. Children will most likely adapt to their new surroundings and get used to their parents leaving them for the day. When an educator has a child in her classroom who is overly attached to their parents they should allow the parents to give hugs and kisses to their child and say good bye and then attempt to distract the child from the action of their parents leaving. Sometimes asking a child to color, wash her hands, put her belongings away, or talk about her favorite toy can be helpful in allowing the child to grieve her parents leaving, but also to cope with the change and get to know their peers and teacher. Allowing the parents to sit in the classroom where their child can see them can also be helpful, but they must reduce the time they are there each time. Severing the attachment abruptly can lead to self-esteem issues, behavioral issues, and feelings of neglect or abandonment. If a child's needs are not met they may "react to events in their early life that may include neglect, abuse, or something more subtle (see causes below). Due to these events, many children are unable to attach to a primary caregiver and go through the normal development that children must go through in order to function in relationships" (Levy, Orleans 1998b). A child who has these attachment problems could be diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). A child with RAD is disconnected from people and things. They tend to stay alone; isolated. An Educator may have a hard time understand what a child with RAD believes or feels. They may get frustrated with the student because he does not seem to be affected by the threat of natural consequences; he may challenge them. If an educator has a child diagnosed with RAD in their classroom they should research the disorder and learn ways to handle situations that may arise with the child. At home the parents can see that the child goes to counseling, or a therapist. They can concentrate on reinforcing positive behaviors rather than punishing for negative behaviors. They should still show the child that they love him and ensure they are paying attention to him and not sending signals of possible abandonment. A child with attachment problems may have a lower level of self-help skills than a child who experiences no attachment issues. Self-help skills are skills such as self-feeding, toilet training, dressing self,...