Using the 5Rs to Promote Self-Regulation Skills in Young Children
Vanessa Maanao-French: Good afternoon or good morning, depending on where you are joining us. Good morning to those in Alaska, Hawaii, outer Pacific Rim. So glad you could join us today for our webinar for education managers. Today, we're going to be focusing how you can use the 5Rs to promote self-regulation skills in young children.
My name is Vanessa Maanao-French, and I am always so happy to be joined by Dr. Gail Joseph, and we are with the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. Let's get us started. We've got lots of ground to cover, and we want to be sure we have time interact with you today.
A couple of quick notes before we really get going. We hope that you know, because you may have already attended other webinars where you're seeing a familiar title, right? You're seeing approaches to learning as core to the content, and four of our webinars this year are going to be sharing that same integrated content focus. "Teacher Time," you may have seen Gail doing presentations for both infant-toddler and preschoolers on this topic. Our coaching corner is this week, if it hasn't already happened. I think it's this week. Yes. We are, obviously, going to be talking about approaches to learning, and our home-visiting series will also have the same focus.
Our hope is that this generates some energy in your programs and some opportunity to come together, to plan, to reflect, and to think about ways that you can really build up each other in your practice and how you support children in developing these skills but also, for our home visitors in particular, how you're helping parents to do that same thing alongside their children.
Alright, I did promise to tell you about this new and exciting resource that we have for you. We have borrowed this idea from our "Teacher Time" series, which is to create a resource alongside that helps you to engage with us during our time together but also we're hoping is a way for you to bring back resources and information to your team to use later, post-webinar. Please use that widget and download it. The team here has made it so it's writable so you can use it right now. One more plug. Hit the blue button. Get the "Leader's Digest.” I think it'll be super helpful as we move through our time together.
What are we going to do during our time together? We have one hour, and we squished in three lofty goals. One is to identify how we can leverage the 5Rs, which Gail will review in just a bit to really improve the support that we provide through our teachers and home visitors to build up those social-emotional skills for kids but really focused on approaches to learning. We're going to talk about strategies that help teachers and home visitors do that work, whether they're in classrooms or working alongside families.
We're going to bring forward and highlight the work of "Teacher Time" because I think the basics that you will soon learn about are so foundational to the work we want to do. Finally, really thinking about you all out there as leaders to explore the Assess-Plan-Act approach, which is found in the ELOF implementation guides as a way to kind of merge together that approach along with the 5Rs to really help you as leaders be planful and reflective in how you support your teams.
Let's do a quick poll before we jump into the 5Rs. The question is, how familiar are you with the 5Rs practices? We've been talking about them for about a year, so we're curious, and let me pop this poll up for you. Is this a new and exciting topic? If so, welcome. We're so glad to have you. If you have some awareness because you've been to a couple webinars or maybe regional training, and the 5Rs have come to you. Or are you now using the 5Rs practices in your role as a learning leader?
I'm going to pause now and give time to be able to respond to our poll. I'm actually curious how this is going to come out, Gail, since we've been talking about this for nearly a year.
Gail Joseph: That's right. We know there are some new folks out there too, so this might be new and exciting to them.
Vanessa: Absolutely. Absolutely. Alright. OK, now, I'm super anxious to know. We have 189 people who have responded. I'm going to pause, because it keeps jumping, for five more seconds to be able to pop in your answer. One of our colleagues who's helping with Q&A is really good at the pause and allowing space for people to respond, but I think we're right about there, so I'm going to go ahead and show our results. Thank you to all who have participated in our poll, and look at that. OK, so we've got a mix.
Gail: Wow, nice. OK.
Vanessa: This is good. We get to keep our jobs, Gail. We still have work to do. Still have work to do. [Laughter] Excellent. Well, thank you. I think now I pass it over to you, Gail, to talk a little bit about the 5Rs.
Gail: Yeah, and actually, one of the things we want to do, especially since we have so many people that are new to the 5Rs today, is to talk about how we came to these 5Rs. We always think it's important to be grounded in how these were developed, and one of the things I think is kind of interesting is we only had 4.1% say they're using the 5Rs in their practice, but my guess is that everyone that's listening today is using these 5Rs. You just might not know it yet.
Let me go through what they are. Let me tell you how they were developed and what they are, and I bet you're going to recognize that you use these on a regular basis because the way that we came up with these 5Rs is we were really interested in knowing what effective early-learning leadership looks like specifically in Early Head Start and Head Start. We know a lot about this in the K-12 literature, but what does it look like in Head Start and Early Head Start when we're being effective leaders? Sometimes we talk about instructional leadership, and we're now talking about, like, effective, early-learning leadership. We wanted to know, what does that look like? We wanted to identify what the strategies were, so not just values and beliefs, which are really important, but we also wanted to know, what does this look like in everyday practice so that we could share it out with each other?
As we were going on this journey to find out what these effective practices were, we talked to early-learning researchers, but most importantly, we talked to current early-childhood educators, current early-childhood leaders to find out, what is it that you're doing that is really effective at improving the program quality, improving child outcomes, supporting educational staff.
What we discovered after multiple interviews and focus groups and literature reviews and all of that, what we discovered were common themes, and we decided that these really coalesce around what we're calling the 5Rs. What's important to know is that these aren't exclusive groups, so you'll see that they kind of blend together, but we like to think about them as the 5Rs, and that is responsive relationships, reason, resources, reflective dialogue, and recognition. Let me just a little bit about each of these.
We discovered that early-learning leaders ... And, again, for everybody that's listening, pat yourself on the back when you hear these thing because I know you're doing these things. The foundational piece is that early-learning leaders build strong relationships with education staff, and they use these relationships to build what we would call a unified culture, a workplace with trust, with collaboration, and where everyone feels a sense of belonging. We also know that early-learning leaders inspire educational staff to meet program goals and objectives by providing the reasons or the "why" for policies and practices, that they're never going to ask for something to be done without inspiring somebody about why it is so important that we do it. Then they also provide resources. They're resourceful, they use their knowledge, educational staff, and family expertise and funding to support educators' professional development and growth. They just make sure that educational staff have the resources that they need to do their jobs well, and I always like to remind early-learning leaders that one of the key resources is you, that we heard that from a lot of teachers, that they really wanted to be able to turn to their early-learning leaders, their ed managers, and know that that ed manager really knew and understood what was good for children. They thought about you as a critical resource in helping support them.
We also know that early-learning leaders engage in reflective dialogue to learn how staff, children, and families are doing, whether this is an informal question in the hallway or this is a formal look at aggregated data and disaggregating it to understand how everyone's doing in the program. Then, finally, early-learning leaders create formal and informal opportunities to recognize – that's the fifth "R," "recognition" – big and small wins to encourage the hearts of educational staff. Now that I've gone through that, and I bet if we did that poll again, we would see that everybody is doing at least one of these things right now, probably, as we're speaking. Those are the 5Rs, and they are just for Early Head Start and Head Start, which I love, and family childcare providers, but for early learning versus K-12 context.
Now, the 5Rs for early leaders, as you've just heard, are these practices, the daily practices that ed managers use as a catalyst for effective practice, and you can use these practices to amplify your efforts when you're implementing your coaching, your practice-based coaching system, planning professional development to strengthen the practices of teachers, home visitors, family childcare providers, which, in turn, then leads to improved outcomes for children and families. This is not something new or something that's planned, something that you already know in terms of those frameworks you see. These are the practices that activate those things.
Now, today, we are going to be connecting those 5R practices to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and specifically to the ELOF implementation guide Assess-Plan-Act approach. We're going to dig into that. Now, hopefully, you've downloaded that new resource we have, the "Leader's Digest," from the resource-list widget because it contains many helpful resources related to our topic today, including direct links to the ELOF and the ECLKC. Hopefully, you also have the ELOF2GO. I just find that so absolutely helpful.
Now, as ed managers, you know that the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, or ELOF , provides research-informed descriptions of what young children birth to age 5 should know and be able to do. It's a really nice, comprehensive guide across developmental domains. As ed managers, the ELOF can be a part of many aspects of your role. It can inform the selection and the use of curriculum, teaching, and assessment practices that promote the goals for children's development and learning. It can help to identify staff-training needs and plan for staff training and development. It supports identification of program priorities to focus attention and resources on meeting the goals for children's development and learning. It's a tool to help communicate about program planning, implementation, and impact with staff, families, advisory boards, and the community. Back to you, Vanessa.
Vanessa: Thank, Gail. We wanted to be sure to make a connection between the ELOF and the Head Start Program Performance Standards, and I could almost say, "Ditto," to everything Gail just said because all of those things are also embedded in the standards, and it's just another way for us to promote and to show that the Head Start Performance Standards promote best practice and high-quality outcomes for children and families. You'll see that there is a standard for each thing that Gail mentioned – connection to school-readiness goals, choosing your curriculum and your assessment tools, thinking about professional development – in a really planful way with children at the heart of that, and then also how you think about PD, training, reflective supervision, and coaching when it comes to supporting teachers and home visitors and family childcare providers to have the skills they need to best support children. There is a link.
Again, this viewer's guide is going to be your best friend when it comes to engaging with us today. There's a link directly in there that takes you right to the ELOF as well as other resources that we're going to mention in just a bit.
As you all know, I was looking through ... Please keep telling us where you're from, because this was, like, the most fun for us as we were gearing up to see who was in the room. I think many of you are familiar with the ELOF, so I may be sharing things that you already know, but it's always good to come with the same foundation. The ELOF, or the Early Learning Outcomes Framework for Head Start, has five major domains including approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and of course, perceptual, motor, and physical development.
During our time this year, we are going to be really focusing on this webinar and three that come after on approaches to learning, and the selection of this domain was very intentional. We know that Head Start is living through a major transition as programs across the country are going back to fully in-person services, full enrollment. That represents a shift in where we've been for a year-plus, right? That creates different needs, different expressions of what that transition feels like for children.
We felt like this in particular was the right time to think about approaches to learning, and in particular, to talk about those subdomains. We know that within approaches to learning, there are the four subdomains, but really, we can kind of pull them apart into three big areas – regulation, initiative and curiosity, and creativity. For our first webinar, we are focusing, really, on regulation, that emotional and behavioral regulation that children need to be able to engage and thrive and be successful in whichever setting they're in.
When we think about regulation and what that means for kids at this age, we have to be mindful that children aren't going to have mastery of these particular skills. They're going to need adult support, and in a bit, we'll look at the goals specifically, and I'll highlight there again that children – infants, toddlers, and preschoolers – are still relying on the adults in their lives to support them as they gain these skills.
Also important to know that temperament makes a difference, right? Some kids are wired to be all in, "I want to try everything," and other children may pull back and demonstrate, or show to you with their behavior, a different way of engaging in the world, and it's our role, it's our job to figure out how best to connect with each of these children.
The other thing to lift up is that emotions and behavior are strongly tied to culture and the expectations that families may have about behavior, and that's why it is so, so critical that you encourage your staff or you yourself. I noticed we have lots of home visitors and teachers that have joined us today – thank you for being with us – that you make those connections with family to learn from them. What does it look like in their home? What helps their child feel safe, nurtured, connected, and have a sense of belonging from their lens, right, to be able to bring that into the classroom? Design spaces that will be able to make that child feel like they have a place where they belong, feel nurtured, and heard in the room.
And, finally, if we're talking about culture and talking with families about it, it's also very, very important to talk to your staff about that. What do you bring in personally and as a team with regard to your expectations about behavior, and what can we learn from one another about how best to create the environment for children? That helps, again, because remember we are the adults nurturing these skills in young children so that we can build these emotional and behavioral skills in each of them. Again, I'll prompt you again to find your "Leader's Digest," because there's a space where you can capture some of these ideas that either we say, Gail and I say, or that come through from the Q&A pod that others that are joining us are saying in terms of, why is this so important? I think I will pass this over to you, Gail, to talk about it from a different lens.
Gail: Absolutely. Let's pause for a moment. I can already see some things being entered into the Q&A about kind of the emotions of the moment. Let's just pause for a moment for a related mindfulness moment, and I have a question. How are you feeling? People that are logged in today, how are you feeling? It's mid-November, your programs are providing services to children and families, perhaps staff are working on their initial assessment of children or planning home visits and socializations. Family childcare providers also have school-age children managing their transitions from and to school. Work is really busy, and I imagine, for our ed managers and everyone that's tuning in today, you're feeling a lot of that. How are you feeling? Use one or two words to just let us know how you're feeling. Use that Q&A widget. We don't have a chat necessarily. We are just going to use Q&A. Let us know how you're feeling.
I'm seeing words already coming in – "tired," "feeling overwhelmed," "feeling concern," and "feeling frustrated," "sometimes lost," "feeling hopeless," oh, "feeling anxious but hopeful," "hopeful.” We're seeing some "hopeful.” We're seeing some "OK.” Keep those coming in. This is the cathartic part of today's session is a place for you to say how you're feeling, and I feel you. I'm feeling all these words that are coming in.
Alright, please feel free to keep sharing those. These are some of the words that we heard, some of the things that were coming in. We did get some "hopeful," some "joyful," some people feeling ready, some people feeling afraid, some people feeling frustrated, stressed, and it's really important to remember that our feelings, our thoughts, and our actions are all connected. Not only do we think about this for young children, but we think about this for adults, and that, if these feelings – especially these negative feelings are left unchecked – they can fester, they can influence he way that we're thinking about a situation, which then impacts the way that we're feeling about the situation, which then impacts the way we're thinking about it again and the way that we behave.
Those three things are so connected, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sometimes when these negative feelings that we have ... We can't stop the feelings that we have, right? Feelings are these just, like, kind of reactions to the environment, we can't necessarily stop the feelings that we're having, nor do we want to stop the feelings, but we do want to check in and say, "If I am feeling really stressed or frustrated or angry or afraid, how is that influencing the way I'm thinking about this situation?” Thinking is always a place where we can kind of stop and kind of impact or change the way that we're thinking about the situation that can then help us influence the way that we start to feel about the situation and, ultimately, the way that we behave.
As we think about supporting the emotional and behavioral regulation in children, it's always an opportunity for us to think about, "What are our own strategies that we're using to managing these emotions?” As adults, we are aware that our feelings, our thoughts, and our behaviors are connected. What are some of the ways that we can help manage, especially some of those unhelpful negative feelings that we're experiencing. We can always, like I said, check in. The feelings we have are these just, like ... They are automatic, they are elicited from the situation, they are helpful to you, they're giving you information, they're not pleasant to feel, I realize, for a very long time if they're a negative feeling, but it is a way of a warning system for you to say, "Let me check in with how I'm thinking about the situation," and, "Can I change the way I'm thinking about that situation to be a more hopeful and helpful way to do that?”
One of the ways that we talk about this, and I think our viewers have probably heard this before if they've kind of tuned in to other webinars, but I just find it really helpful … That is this strategy that we have, which is called "move your telescope.” Sometimes when we have a negative feeling that's elicited in us, it can help us to only focus on a negative way of thinking, and you're probably seeing that I have a little telescope here. I keep it on my desk to remind myself of this strategy.
If you think about when you're looking through a telescope ... Here we have a picture of a telescope that's fixed, right, so sometimes we can look through these telescopes, and they're fixed, and here's just the analogy we're making here is that when we get those negative feelings happening, our telescope can get fixed on just one negative aspect of the situation. It can be "I don't have enough staff. I'll never have enough staff. I'm feeling overwhelmed because I don't have enough staff," and while that might be true, when we just have our thinking concentrated on that negative situation that's happening, we can miss other things that are happening around. The analogy here is that perhaps you're in San Francisco and you're on the pier and you look in a fixed telescope and all you can see is Alcatraz, which is maybe a negative thing to be looking at and thinking about for a long time, and so you miss some of the beauty around you, you miss some of the beauty around you, you miss some of the silver linings that are around you, and so what you need to do is move your telescope. The way you move your telescope is by checking in with your thinking and thinking, "Is there anything helpful and positive that I can find in this situation?” Any little bit of a silver lining, anything positive that you can find is sometimes enough to help you feel a little bit more hopeful, that can help you act in a way that is a little bit more helpful. Going from hopeful feelings to helpful thinking and behaving is the way that we can do this.
I like to share this analogy a lot because what I find, actually, also helpful is that, when I get stuck in that negative-thinking situation, where all I can see is the negative, and I'm going on and on about that, I have a few trusted colleagues that will say, "Hey, hey, hey. Telescope up," right? Like, "Move your telescope," and help me see something, right? If it's a case of feeling understaffed at the moment, it might be that I need to move my telescope and say, "Oh, my gosh. Look at the number of people that are here, that are dedicated, that are showing up every day," so that I can start to feel a little bit more hopeful about that situation that can help me to support those adults.
Now, you all have strategies that are out there, as well, and what we want you to do is to enter your ideas into the Q&A widget. What are the strategies you use? I use "move my telescope.” What are strategies that you're using that you can help an education staff manage stressful moments? What are things that you're communicating to your team that you use? We want you to share those in Q&A because we'd love to send those back out so everyone can see your responses, but there's also a space in your "Leader's Digest" to jot these ideas down that you would like to try. I'm seeing "glass half full" coming in.
Vanessa: I love this quote. I might have to put it on my bulletin board, Gail. "When I change the way I look at things, the things I'm looking at change.” I'm like, that's kind of like your telescope. Love it.
Gail: That is it. That is it. "Relaxing with a cup of coffee.” "Mindful." "Breathing.”
Vanessa: Breathing is good.
Gail: I'm loving these things coming in.
Vanessa: It sounds so simple.
Gail: "Finding meaning in the suffering.” That is very deep. Yeah, go ahead. Sorry.
Vanessa: Oh, no, so sorry. I'm, like I said, just as excited as you, Gail. I saw one that was so simple but so powerful, and it was ... Oh, and because they're coming in so fast and furious, I've, like, lost it, but it was about listening and having a person feel heard, and I think sometimes that goes such a long way.
Gail: "Doughnuts.” [Laughter]
Vanessa: [Gasps] I think I found my new best friend.
Gail: Yes, if someone told me to "telescope up" and offered a doughnut, my day would get better. Or an apple. Or just something that was recognizing ... I love these. Oh, these are so great, and I'm so grateful for Katie and Tam, who are also helping behind with the Q&A, and they're sending these things back out so everybody can see these great strategies coming in. This is what we mean by being resourceful too, and supporting relationships. I mean, I'm seeing two of these "R's" here coming out in these examples. I'm going to send it back over to you, Vanessa.
Vanessa: Oh, absolutely. Thanks, Gail. Keep those ideas coming as I talk, because one other thing I'd love to do, which I did, I think, at the end of our last webinar was to gather up all of your ideas and pull them together and post them on MyPeers. If you don't see yours pop up through or get [Inaudible] ... I will gather those up and make sure that you see them again because I think there are so many amazing ideas coming through. Yes, Claire, "You can't pour from an empty cup.” Can't say that any better, so thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that, because, as we know, we can't nurture children if we're not nurturing ourselves, and wellness is so, so important.
On Monday, kind of preparing for this session and thinking about this question in particular that we were going to pose to you, I did post within MyPeers in the education leaders community, the wellness-wheel session that was a part of the education manager institute, so that's another place we can gather some more ideas but in the wellness-wheel approach. Just a little commercial break, but I'll be sure to post these all for you there as well.
We want to move on to talking about adult/child interactions that really support this approach to learning domain. And, actually we were talking about Tam, Gail, and there she is on our slide. But we want to make sure we touch base with the goals for infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers, and here, again, I'm going to really focus in on those words, "with support of familiar adults.”
For our infants and toddlers, we want them to learn to manage their feelings and emotions and to manage their actions and behaviors, but again, with the support of familiar adults. For our preschoolers, we want our children to be able to manage their emotions and to follow rules and routines with increasing independence. That means we're still there supporting them along the way. Then, finally, for our preschoolers, we want them to learn how to care for their environment, whether that be their classroom or their home or the outdoors, to be able to take care of their spaces that they share with others and to manage their words and behavior, again, with increasing independence. This really does, within the ELOF, showcase how adults are so vitally important, and how we engage with them makes a big difference in how they develop.
Here is a quick pulse check. We are curious if you have attended a "Teacher Time" webinar, whether that be focus for infants and toddlers or preschoolers or maybe you're a frequent customer and you go to both. We wanted to see with a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. You should be able to see that now. If you have attended, give us a thumbs-up, and if you have not yet, you can let us know that too. I'll be sure to, on the ed-managers community, make sure you can link up to see those recorded sessions and have information about the ones that are coming up.
OK, our votes are coming in now. I apologize, because I don't think you can see it, but Gail and I get to see how things are ticking, in terms of the thumbs-up, so please come in. Thanks. OK.
Gail: How's it looking? I actually can't see it. I think only you can, so how's it looking?
Vanessa: Only I can see? OK. [Laughter] I'm going to give another five seconds. We're at the voting time. You have about 38% of folks who have put in their quick thumb up or thumb down. OK, we have 160 or so that say they have attended a "Teacher Time" webinar in the past, and 99 not yet. Thank you all. That just tells me I have another resource that I can share with you.
Gail: That's right. We love that, that you can ... Again, we're making these connections this season so that things we're talking about in the ed-manager webinar and that you're sharing information about are the same things that we are talking with teachers about, so we love that kind of crossover. It's like the crossover episodes that you see on your favorite TV series.
Here we have the "Teacher Time" BASICS, and if you have not tuned in to a recent "Teacher Time," we started introducing a collection of teaching practices that we are calling BASICS because we're talking about getting back to basics, using basic strategies to support learning in classrooms. We know some of you maybe have experienced some staff turnover, so this idea of, "Here are some basics that you can reinforce with your educational staff," is something that we think, hopefully, you will find helpful.
These are examples of what the practices look like when we are supporting infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and these are the things that we're sharing during webinars. Today we're going to review each practice just at a really high level for you to consider while planning for professional development for your educational staff, either individually or as a group. Think about, is there a practice that, if strengthened, would boost effect interactions between education staff and children? Is there a skill that an individual teacher, a teaching team, or family childcare provider might model for others? How might you weave in a discussion of the BASICS strategies into your reflective supervision with home visitors?
Think about all of those things. I'm going to walk us through the BASICS. You can see the acronym there, but we're going to break it down in the next few slides, and just keep all of those ideas in mind.
Let's go to "B," the "B" in BASICS. The "B" stands for behavioral expectations in advance. That's probably familiar to a lot of you. "We can support young children's emotional regulation skills by stating behavioral expectations in advance.” "In advance" is the operative words there. This means that before children start a new activity or are getting settled into a new activity or transitioning to a new place, we can share the expectations ahead of time, and we share those in a positive way. We talk about what we want children to do, not what not to do. We might say, "Use your walking feet.” We might say, "Using a quiet mouth.” We might say, "We only have one glue stick and two children, so we are going to need to use our words and ask for a turn if we want a turn.” But the key thing here is that we want to hear teachers using those behavioral expectations in advance. That is going to be incredibly helpful for that emotional regulation skill to develop in our approaches to learning.
Now, the next one is "A," and "A" is to attend to and encourage appropriate behavior. "All children in our care are learning to regulate their behavior and emotions.” As Vanessa was reading what the goals were, one of the key things I kept seeing is that "with adult support," especially for infants and toddler, so let's catch and encourage young children when they are trying out those new behavioral skills that they're learning in terms of regulating their emotions. We can catch that, and we can tell them with our words, we can do it with our gestures, we can give high fives, thumbs-up, or elbow bumps, a little side hug to a child that their efforts are being noticed and that they are important.
When we move to the "S" in BASICS, the first "S" is to scaffold with cues and prompts. This is making sure that we're providing children with just enough support, just enough support to help them with managing their emotions. We can scaffold their behaviors with cues and with prompts. Cues can be modeling. It can be a visual prompt. It can be a visual cue. It can be using a proximal where they're attending to a child that's using the skill. Cues and prompts can be all of those things. They can be feeling wheels, they can be social stories, all kinds of ways that we can help young children to learn to use the new strategies in terms of emotional regulation.
Now, the "I" in BASICS is for increasing engagement, and that is providing multiple ways for children to communicate and engage in activities. I like to think about this as providing lots of different ways for children to engage, making sure that activities are hands-on. But another example is contributing to a group conversation through nonverbal cues like raising a hand to vote or providing a child with several activity choices during a home visit that support the same learning goal. Different ways that we can individualize to increase a child's engagement.
The "C" is for creating or adding challenge to advance, increase, or extend learning or the practice of a new skill. If I think about this in terms of emotional regulation, advancing might be to use advanced feeling vocabulary, so moving beyond "happy," "sad," and "mad" maybe to using words like "frustrated," "curious," "impatient," "excited," "joyful," "loved.” When I think about increasing, I might think about increasing or offering more examples in a solution kit. That might be a way I'm connecting this to emotional regulation. Solution kit are those sets of ideas of solutions that children can use so they don't get stuck on just saying, "Please, please, please, please, please," but they might have other things, like they could walk away, they can ask for help, they can take a breath. When I think about extending, I think, when helping a child practice, say, waiting for a turn, I'm extending the waiting time a little by a little without creating too much frustration but just adding some challenge there. I like to talk with children about using their waiting muscles and, "Oh, boy, your waiting muscles are so big. They're getting so strong.” But adding a little bit more wait time so those waiting muscles can grow a little bit bigger.
Then when I think about the next "S," it is specific feedback, so finally that final "S" is providing specific feedback, and this is really a key to learning anything. "When children are learning emotional and behavioral regulation skills, we can help them by understanding what they are doing and what they can do more of," right, so what they're doing well and what they can do more of. Or providing some corrective feedback if we need to. We can use the example of what the child did, give specific feedback to them to help them learn more, like maybe it's a new emotion word or solutions to the problem, scaffolding, to think of a different answer, when they might not be on track. It's providing that specific feedback, which might be, like, "Yes, you got it," but it also might be, "Almost. Let's try again," and providing some cues. It's providing that feedback.
Alright, those are the BASICS. I've seen some questions coming in, wanting some more examples, and I would love to say, "Please watch the 'Teacher Time,'" because we just fill it with examples. That's one place where you can get a lot more examples beyond today's webinar. Ask yourself, as you were thinking about it, was there a BASICS strategy that stood out to you that, if strengthened, would really boost effective interactions between educational staff and children? Is there one that you thought, like, "Hmm, I'm not sure I'm seeing that happen with great frequency, and I might want to attend to that.” Is there a BASICS strategy that an individual teacher or a teaching time or a family childcare provider might model for others? Did you think of, like, "Oh, my gosh. You know, Malcolm is so great at that. I'm going to make sure that he can model creating or adding challenge for others.” How might you weave in discussion of BASICS strategies into your reflective supervision with home visitors, thinking about that?
Now, I hope you got your "Leader's Digest," because you can write down your ideas in there. You can also enter those into the Q&A widget right now. As we mentioned, the preschool "Teacher Time" webinar is available on Push Play at this moment as well as the infant-toddler one. It should be there any moment, actually. You can view those, you can encourage your staff to view those to really deepen down into the BASICS strategies.
Alright, now I want to turn our attention to focus on equity, and as we learn more and talk about emotional and behavioral regulation, it's really important for us to think about how, as education managers and as teachers, as anyone that's viewing, that you can support equitable teaching practices. When we talk about equitable teaching practices, it means using practices that meet each child where they are to support their ability to fully participate and belong in their learning environment. The practices we talked about in BASICS really can be considered equitable teaching practices as each practice can be individualized to a child's learning needs.
Now, as education managers, as leaders, teachers, everyone listening in, you can increase the opportunities for equity in your program through self-reflection. I feel like equity and self-reflection have to go together through your reflective supervision, your mentoring, your training, and your support for cultural responsiveness and authentic parent engagement.
Now, I want to start by examining and shining a light on our implicit biases about children and emotional regulation. Several studies have suggested that teachers perceive some children to have more disruptive and more aggressive behavior when they do not, and unfortunately, this is very racialized and gendered, as well. Walter Gilliam is a researcher who has studied bias in the classrooms in early-learning settings, and you may recognize this video from our "Five Questions" series, but it was also highlighted during the "Teacher Time" webinars. As you're listening to Walter Gilliam, reflect in your "Leader's Digest" about implicit bias. Write down what stands out to you in what Dr. Gilliam is sharing, and what you can do as a leader to address implicit bias in yourself and the education you support.
Dr. Walter Gilliam: Hello. I'm Walter Gilliam. I'm a professor of child psychiatry and psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center and director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy.
Woman: What is implicit bias?
Dr. Gilliam: Implicit bias, they're the biases that you have that you don't know that you have. They're the ways in which you look at individuals, the way you look at individuals, the way in which you look at other people and reach conclusions or reach assumptions that you may not even know that you've reached, and as a result of that, you changed your behavior.
Woman: What evidence do we have of implicit bias in a preschool setting?
Dr. Gilliam: A few years ago, in 2016, we completed a study where we were looking at implicit biases in preschool teachers. In the study, what we did was we had teachers look at videos, and these were videos of children sitting at a table, a boy and a girl, one white boy, one white girl, one Black boy, one Black girl. They were sitting at the table, and they were just playing with Play-Doh. There was an eye tracker that was attached to the video where the teachers were looking at the video screen, and on the eye tracker, we could track down to 1/1000 of a second and just right down to a pixel on the screen exactly where they looking.
We asked the teachers, we said, "This is a study to see whether you can find challenging behaviors before they become too problematic. Now, please watch this video, and anytime you see a child do something that could become a behavior problem, if you could intervene quick enough, hit this button.” What we didn't tell the teachers was this, that there are going to be no challenging behaviors in any of the videos, because they were all child actors, and that what we were really interested in was, when we lead you to believe that a child might misbehave, where did you look? Where did you look first? Where did you look most? Or did you go back because you must've missed something?
What we ultimately found was that teachers overwhelmingly looked more at Black children when they were led to believe that somebody's going to misbehave, especially the Black boy. That was true for teachers regardless of the race – white teachers, Black teachers, and brown teachers – because we all have implicit biases in us, and those biases predetermine who it is that we expect certain behaviors from.
When I said "challenging behaviors," teachers looked more overwhelmingly at the Black children, especially the Black boy, which then raises this other question. What if I had said, "This is a study to look for evidence of creativity, to look for evidence of brilliance and genius.” Who would they have looked at then? Because, ultimately, that's what biases are about. They're about expectations. Where do you expect certain behaviors to be happening? If a teacher's looking more for challenging behaviors with the Black children, you know where she's going to find them? With the Black children, because that's where she's looking. She won't find it with the white children as often because we're not looking there.
Gail: Wow. We want to just pause for a moment. I know we are running a little bit behind, but we want to pause for a moment, because this is so important, to give you a chance to write down your thoughts from Dr. Gilliam's video in your "Leader's Digest.” I know some of you have said that you've seen this, you've been aware of Walter's research for a while now, and you're surprised it's just now making it to this level, but it is, and that's important.
We want you to just write down your reflections and think about encouraging you to watch the full video if you haven't seen it and just think about how you might bring this awareness to your educational staff. Now, we show it in the "Teacher Time" episode – we have it over in MyPeers – but we think you might want to review it again with your team and think about how might you use this as a professional-development moment? How might it change the way that you're doing your observations of teachers and who they interact with? Maybe you go around in your classrooms and you think about a pre-K class observation. Can you think about it from the child's level, right? Can you think about it from a bottom-up perspective and say, "Who's getting asked open-ended questions, who's getting feedback," etc. Anyways, I know this generates a lot of discussion, but hopefully, you've had a moment to just jot down some ideas to remind yourself to think about how you can bring this very important information to your team.
Vanessa: Thanks, Gail, there's no smooth way to go from that deep conversation into thinking a tool or an approach, but again, we do hope that you do take some time with your team. It is your "Leader's Digest.” There's a link to the full 8-minute video, and there are similar videos on ECLKC, but that one in particular we thought really kind of hit home and made us think about equity in this light.
There is no smooth transition, so I'll just transition us. The last thing we wanted to do with you all today was to take time to connect the 5Rs to the implementation guide for ELOF , the Assess-Plan-Act approach, and we feel like there's lots of really, really great connections that you can make there to be able to, as Gail mentioned, have the 5Rs serve as a catalyst for the work that you're doing with your teams. In your viewer's guide, your "Leader's Digest," you will find a matrix that will walk us through each of these steps and places where the 5Rs kind of map right onto each of these three steps, and some questions you might think of to prompt you as you're planning to do maybe building in some of the BASICS strategies that Gail just mentioned, or maybe you want to pull back and think about creating some PD around, “How can we better use an equity lens in our work?” Let's start with Dr. Gilliam's video, but let's really unpack what that means within how we support children to reach this outcomes, and in particular, since we're thinking about approaches to learning, maybe we're going to think about the emotional and behavioral subdomain of approaches to learning, and this is all part of a continuous quality-improvement process. We always want to be assessing, planning, and acting. Let me move us on to the next slide.
Step one is, really, where you're kind of pulling back and thinking about, what are the needs of my team? What am I seeing in that child-development data where we may have some areas to grow? I would suggest that ... We're only going to highlight three of the 5Rs each of these times, but you have questions in your viewer's guide that go through each of the 5Rs, but there's connection in this first step between relationship, reflective dialogues, and recognition. How can we think about relationships, and what do we learn from the children and families?
At the top, we talked about that cultural and familial connection to our behavioral expectations of children. How are we learning that information from our families, and how are sharing that with the rest of our education staff? When it comes to reflective dialogues, how do I currently share data with my team and with families? The information I share, do they understand it in a way that is meaningful and will help us to take action? What am I already doing now to gather and use the data?
Then, finally, recognition. If we're going to be planning something, planning PD for our team, whose voice is at the table, contributing to that plan? Do families have ideas that they can share based on their experience with us as a team? Do our team members have ideas of where they would like to bring forth their strengths in places where they're like, "I need help, but I know that the person across the hallway from me, their classroom is rocking in this area, and I feel like I want time to connect and learn with them.” How do we bring those voices to the table? The next step is around actually planning, and I think this came up in a lot of your comments when we asked how you're feeling, and the reason part includes thinking about the social and emotional needs not only of the children and families but of our staff. If we're doing PD, how are we weaving in wellness? Because we all need it, especially now, and I think it was amplified for me today, seeing how you're feeling, but I also heard some hope in the comments that came through. How can we lift those up to be sure that we're meeting the needs of our team?
I love that Gail said that you are a resource. Every person joining us today, every person who will be watching in this webinar on demand, you are a resource. As you're planning your professional development, how are you creating spaces for peers to talk with one another? We know that when we do regional training or in-person training, we never give enough time for people to talk with one another because that's where the magic happens. We bring information, we bring resource, but truly, truly, it's when you're able to share a table with somebody from across the country and say, "This is what I do. What do you do?” You are able to learn from one another. How can you do that within your own programs as you plan your PD and make that intentional and something that's a part of the culture, that you just expect to have that opportunity to share and that every voice is heard?
Then, finally, in this particular step, thinking about those reflective dialogues, and how will we have the data that we collect, as we're creating this PD plan, meaningful? How will you know, and how will staff know when they're effective? And, finally, because I'm looking at our time. I want to be sure we can get some questions in if we have a little bit of time for that. We're going to act, we're going to implement that plan, and we're going to pull back and see how did it go?
And, again, you, as education managers, as education staff, peers, just being available to one another, and I'm going to speak especially to the education managers out there. Five minutes in a classroom is everything to the teaching team. Seeing you physically present means more than you know. If you can come in, even if it's just for two minutes to wipe down the table after breakfast, you have no idea what ... Well, maybe you do. I'm sure your teachers may have told you this, as well. Your presence makes a difference, and if we're learning a new skill, or if we're practicing a new BASICS strategy, you being in the room to model that and to offer feedback on the spot is amazing. Going that extra mile – and I know it's hard because there's so many things that are pulling at your attention – to be available is just critical.
And, again, we go back to reflective dialogues. You think I have favorite "R's.” I think they're all my favorite, but I think I said reflective dialogues in all three. But this is where we can build in opportunities for staff to recognize when they have been effective or to recognize that in their peer, and that can be so very, very powerful.
The last one, I think, would go a long way with the wellness needs that we have, and that is to celebrate those small wins as they come in this transition. I noticed a comment that came through about not being worried about not even being able to open a classroom because there's been staff turnover, and maybe that small win is, "We opened another classroom," right, and celebrate that because that's a big deal. That's 18 to 19 kiddos, if it's preschool, 8 kiddos if it's toddlers being able to serve more children. Celebrate that. Maybe it's the first in-person home visit. Maybe it's the first in-person socialization. Maybe it's ... Small things. We can find them. Let's celebrate, celebrate because it makes all the difference. As we're kind of winding down with our time with you today, we would love to have you share with us and chat an idea you plan to use or share. And Gail, I want to be sure I offer some time and space for your comments, and ideas as we wind down.
Gail: Yeah, we don't have tons of time to answer any questions, but we definitely ... Questions that you put in, we'll take over to MyPeers, that we can start a conversation there. I think there are some really thoughtful reflections and some really deep questions that I've seen coming in, especially around the implicit-biases piece, and so I think we should definitely take those over to MyPeers. But I love this. We've got some people that are writing in what they're going to be taking away – shifting the telescope, sharing the BASICS visual with staff, sharing information with teachers. I'm loving these things that are coming in. We don't quite have time for that. We will take this Q&A over to MyPeers. Vanessa, you want to talk about Push Play?
Vanessa: Oh, yes, in the remaining seconds that we have left. Yes, please. We will push out to you ... Aha push out Push Play to you so that you can find those "Teacher Time" webinars, and if you are new to the 5Rs, it's also a nice place to connect up and review or view the videos we did, webinars we did this past year that walks through each of the 5Rs individually.
The other thing that's on Push Play is the education manager institute. The sessions are all there, including the one on staff wellness, and Gail also did an amazing session on reflective dialogues and using data to inspire improvement. I would definitely asterisks that one and be sure to go back to that one. It's one of my favorites. Push Play, I think, has already come out to you. It's also cooked in on MyPeers. That is our time, and we hope that we've enticed you to join us again. We will be continuing our journey through the approaches to learning in January, and then we'll be focusing on cognitive regulation. Join us again, and thank you again so much for your time today.Close
The first five years of life lay the foundation for children’s development of social and behavioral self-regulation. This webinar discusses the role of early learning leaders in providing education staff with the resources and guidance necessary to foster these skills. Explore ways to boost impact and improve outcomes for children by using data to inform and focus professional development.
Note: The evaluation, certificate, and engagement tools mentioned in the video were for the participants of the live webinar and are no longer available. For information about webinars that will soon be broadcast live, visit the Upcoming Events section.