Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director, and Orinthia Harris, CEI STEM presenter, delivered two CEI workshops at the Early Care & Education Conference, sponsored by SUNY, on June 8 and 9, in Syracuse New York.
As part of CEI’s STEM Road Show, Ms. Harris spoke on Early Childhood STEM and Robotics. At her session, enthusiastic participants learned about the rationale for teaching robotics to young children. Ms. Harris described commercially available programs and provided participants with the basic skills and knowledge needed to create their own Robotics lessons. During the 90 minute, hands-on session, teachers and daycare providers circulated to stations to design their own robots. According to Harris, “Yes, you can teach robotics, without a robot!”
Dr. Mason’s session on Trauma and Early Childhood Education, based on research that CEI has been doing and a book on Heart Centered Learning that will be published later this year, began on a far more somber note. The reality is staggering. Over 6 million children each year are referred to Child Protective Services due to trauma as a result of neglect, or physical or abuse. Speaking about the extent of early developmental trauma, Mason began by asking the audience a series of questions:
- How many of you are teaching children in poverty?
- Are any of you working with children whose parents are incarcerated?
- Do any of you work with immigrant children?
- Do any of you work with children whose families or ancestors have experienced gender or racially-based injustice, bigotry, or discrimination?
- Do any of you teach children whose parents are divorced or are going through divorce?
Symptoms and Solutions. Mason went on to describe the symptoms of children experiencing trauma, the immediate and long-term neurological impact, and findings regarding the relationship of trauma to difficulties with attention, memory, and learning. There are no easy answers. However, there is significant research supporting the approach CEI is recommending – mindfulness and Heart centered learning. Mason ended the presentation by leading participants through a series of CEI’s Heart Beaming exercises.
CEI presenters are available to travel to your schools, districts, and conferences. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.