Educare Chicago highlighted in report about children’s developmental needs

A new report that offers a holistic view of children’s developmental needs from early childhood to young adulthood features insight from two Educare Chicago staff members.

The report, “Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework,” by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicago CCSR), offers a comprehensive look at what research, theory and practice identify as the building blocks for life success. In addition to reviewing decades of relevant research, the report’s authors interviewed experts in research policy and practice.

Melinda Berry, senior family support supervisor at Educare Chicago, talked about supporting the developmental needs of infants and toddlers, including the importance of balancing safety with “enough freedom to explore and learn on their own.”

Barbara Abel, curriculum manager, discussed the need to help young children develop self-regulation and social-emotional skills so they can concentrate on learning academic content.

“You know that day when you oversleep and you wake up and you’re an hour late for an important meeting or it’s your first day at work on a new job and you realize that you’ve overslept?” Abel says. “What do you feel like? Dysregulated kids feel like that much of the time. So imagine, with your adrenaline constantly flowing, your cortisol levels elevated, with your heart beating a little too fast, not knowing which way to turn—how do you expect someone to learn? And so if some children have all these factors that can compromise their capacity to self-regulate, then we have to look at classrooms and we have to say, ‘How do we create a place that makes all the children feel safe so that they can attend?’”

According to a statement from UChicago CCSR, the report concludes that rich experiences combining action and reflection help children develop a set of critical skills, attitudes and behaviors. And the report suggests that policies should aim to ensure that all children have consistent, supportive relationships and an abundance of these developmental experiences through activities inside and outside of school. Read more about the report in the National Journal and Education Week.