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In This Issue
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Reduce Stress in the Classroom

 
Stress is defined as a mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. When it comes to the early childcare environment, everyone is at risk of experiencing stress, but especially the students. Children begin experiencing stress at a very early age, and it's important for childcare providers to provide stability and guidance, and to help children cope with stress. Excess stress can be detrimental to cognition, social interaction, and physical health.

For young children, separation from parents is the greatest cause of anxiety. As children get older, academic and social pressures create stress. Expectations from parents are a common source of stress among children as well. For instance, parents who push their children to excel in sports or enroll them in too many activities may cause unnecessary stress and frustration if their children don't share the same goals and interests. For children, a stressful event might be getting a shot, starting school, gaining a new sibling, or even anticipating a fun event like a birthday party. Furthermore, a child's stress level can be raised by more than what's happening in his or her own life. Overhearing a parent talking about problems at work, or a fight between parents can lead to stress and anxiety for that child. Teachers and caregivers also need to be aware of the "stress loop" created when children sense stress in a close caregiver, so the first step is to train yourself to leave personal stress on the doorstep when you reach the classroom.

Teachers and child care providers play an important role in helping children manage the inevitable stresses in their daily lives. The first step is to be aware of the possible stressors and to recognize the symptoms of stress. Be sensitive to the individuality of each child, and try to focus on his or her behavior in a positive manner. Try these three basic things to help relieve or prevent stress in children:
  • Try to have reasonable expectations and set manageable goals
  • Provide children with positive examples
  • Provide unstructured "down time" where they can choose their own activities and spend time talking, laughing, and singing
It's critical for early childhood educators to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress in children, and to understand how to help children cope with stress. Excess stress can be detrimental to cognition, social interaction, and physical health. It can be easy for professionals to underestimate the effects of stress in young children, but the fact is that stress is something humans experience throughout their entire lives. Early care providers have an opportunity to help children cope with stress during a critical time of their life, and help them develop a foundation of healthy emotional skills and coping strategies for the future.
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The Effects of Childhood Stress
Article Courtesy of cdc.gov
 
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Human beings experience stress early, even before they are born. A certain amount of stress is normal and necessary for survival. Stress helps children develop the skills they need to cope with and adapt to new and potentially threatening situations throughout life. Support from parents and/or other concerned caregivers is necessary for children to learn how to respond to stress in a physically and emotionally healthy manner. View Article 
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     Sources of Stress           
                   Article Courtesy of kidshealth.org
 
Stress is a function of the demands placed on us and our ability to meet them. These demands often come from outside sources, such as family, jobs, friends, or school. But it also can come from within, often related to what we think we should be doing versus what we're actually able to do. So stress can affect anyone who feels overwhelmed - even kids. In preschoolers, separation from parents can cause anxiety.
View Article
 
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This Month's Trial Course: Managing Stress in the Classroom   
 
CCEI offers SOC102: From Chaotic to Calm: Managing Stress in the Classroom as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of April.

This course will provide an understanding of childhood stress and will give information, activity ideas, and tools for easing children's anxieties and worries in the classroom. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to define various sources of stress, identify symptoms, and various methods to help children cope.
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Stress in School-Age Programs   
 


People experience different types of stress at different times in life, and afterschool programs are no exception. While the school day is filled with the stress of class and testing, afterschool activities bring along stresses of their own in the form of athletics or other extracurricular activities.

As is the case for young children, it's important for school-age programs to provide a resourceful environment and set manageable goals for young students. Developing healthy emotional skills at an early age can help lead to a more successful future.
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