Mindfulness for Children

In the December newsletter, we explore how bringing more present-moment awareness can positively impact interactions with others. The benefits of mindfulness for adults are well documented. According to a report from Exeter University:

“Amongst adults there is reasonably strong evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness on a wide range of mental and physical health conditions, on social and emotional skills and well-being, and on learning and cognition. There is also good evidence from neuroscience and brain imaging that mindfulness meditation reliably and profoundly alters the structure and function of the brain to improve the quality of both thought and feeling.”

What about the impact on children?

The same study came to the following conclusions for children:

“Mindfulness for young people is easy to carry out, fits into a wide range of contexts, is enjoyed by both students and teacher, and does no harm.” 

In addition, the Exeter University study also reported improved mental, physical, social, and emotional health and well-being in the young children who participated in mindfulness practices. Benefits included:

  • Improved sleep.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Greater calmness, relaxation.
  • Improved ability to manage behaviors and emotions.
  • Greater self-awareness and empathy.
  • Reduced stress levels.
  • Reduced anxiety and reactivity.
  • Reduction of negative behaviors.

Cognitive functioning can also be improved by mindfulness practices. The Exeter University study found that behaviors associated with executive functions were greatly improved. Executive functions are the skills that help children organize thoughts, focus attention, filter distractions, and pause before reacting to a situation. Specific benefits cited include:

  • Longer attention span.
  • Increased innovative thinking.
  • Greater access to prior knowledge.
  • Boosted working memory.
  • Enhanced planning, problem solving and reasoning skills.

Ultimately, Exeter University’s study concluded

“The studies show that adolescents who are mindful, either through their character or through learning, tend to experience greater well-being, and that being more mindful tends to accompany more positive emotion, greater popularity and having more friends, and less negative emotion and anxiety.”

Please note: Every child is unique. Not every child will experience all of these positive results from mindfulness techniques, but children will not be harmed by the practice.

You can learn more in the CCEI course entitled SOC106: The Value of Mindfulness in Early Childhood Settings

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Staff Communication: Educational Partnerships

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI960: Staff Communication: Educational Partnerships as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users December 1-31, 2021.

The quality of a relationship between two people is highly dependent on the quality of their communication. The better your communication skills are, the better your relationships will be in your professional as well as personal life. Developing effective communication skills is especially important in a child care environment, where little eyes are watching and learning from your every move. This course is designed to help child care directors, teachers, and staff develop effective communication skills.

While human language is an amazing tool for communication, it can also create barriers. As humans, our minds are naturally wired to begin learning language from the moment we are born.  However, learning effective communication skills takes years of practice and, along the way, all of us make mistakes.  Language is only one part of the communication puzzle. How you choose to say something (tone of voice, body language), when you choose to say it, and why the other person may think you are saying it are all important factors, as well.

Communication between two people is always a two−way street, and if one person does not make a true effort to understand what the other is saying, then the value of the communication begins to slip away. Nearly all experts agree that the single most important aspect of successful communication is the notion that what you say is less important than whether or not you understand what the other person says.

This course provides directors, administrators, and aspiring directors with a greater understanding of the value of good communication skills, as well as various techniques for listening and responding appropriately to staff, parents, and children. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able list key phrases to remember when communicating, identify ways to improve their communication skills, define active listening and explain methods to be used by staff members to effectively communicate among each other.

“All staff members should be encouraged and trained to use good communication techniques,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “This course will help students understand the ways in which effective communication strategies can improve the services and culture within a child care center, boosting employee morale and retention.”

CCEI960: Staff Communication: Educational Partnerships is a one-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.1 IACET CEU upon successful completion. The course is also offered in Spanish.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EDT

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute®, a division of Excelligence Learning Corporation, provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 150 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials.  CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).