“We encourage mom to come in and breastfeed whenever possible and make an environment where mom is comfortable to do that. Child-care providers are perfectly placed to match the rhythms the mother established with the baby. The baby’s comfort is paramount for what the child-care provider does in the child-care setting.”
Sperry’s presentation provides guidance and limits to promote resiliency to help children prosper.
“In the early ‘90s, the Devereux Foundation was noticing that younger and younger children were being referred to residential-treatment service, and they decided they wanted to start an early childhood initiative for prevention,” Sperry said.
The initiative started with children ages 1 through 5.
“Young children were exhibiting behaviors like severe aggression and antisocial behavior,” she said. “The Devereux Center for Resilient Children began to research prevention models and decided to build a program around resilience theory.”
Resilience theory is the belief that children have the capacity to adjust and bounce back from misfortune and change in their lives.
“The research indicated there are some qualities that young children need early in life that will support their resiliency. We focus on assessing those qualities and making sure they’re strengthening them. Usually children lacking in these qualities are acting out. Instead of focusing on the acting out, we focus on what their lacking,” Sperry said.
Three core resilient qualities that children need are initiative, self-regulation and healthy attachments.
“Initiative is the child’s ability to act on their own thoughts. Self-regulation, or self-control, that’s the ability to cope with feelings appropriately,” she said.
Healthy attachments can be with a family member or at least one safe, long-lasting, consistent relationship with another person.
“Early childhood providers spend long periods of time with children, and they have a wonderful opportunity to foster resiliency,” Sperry said.