PLATTSBURGH — “Bonding from the Beginning” is a training opportunity happening today for those who care for young children or work with breast-feeding moms.
The six-hour training will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Emmaus Room at St. Peter’s Church on Cornelia Street. The program includes “Planting the Seeds of Attachment,” presented by the Clinton County Health Department; and “Growing the Roots of Resilience,” by Rachel Sperry, a national trainer and early childhood mental-health specialist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children in Villanova, Pa.
In the first presentation, child-care providers learn how to support the social and emotional health of young children and how to support breastfeeding mothers as they transition back to work.
“We’re trying to engage child-care providers who are working with parents of very young children — infants, toddlers and preschoolers — and to get them engaged in the attachment process,” said Ann Fraser, training coordinator and infant-toddler specialist for the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country.
“When we think about parents and young children, I want child-care providers to understand they are an integral part of the bonding process.”
Clinton County Health Department staffers will show providers how to set up a breastfeeding-friendly child-care environment.
“Their goal is to get providers to tap in this social dance and support parents in forming early attachment bonds,” Fraser said.
“You can’t build resiliency and positive social and emotional success with young children unless they had really good first-attachment relationships.”
Child-care providers are on the front lines in assisting with parental-child early attachments.
“We support mom’s transition back to work in a number of ways in the child-care environment by supporting mom’s feeding schedule at day care, providing breast milk in a safe and healthy way and matching the feeding pattern of the family,” Fraser said.
“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.
“They can do activities and have interactions with children. The more kids have those, the more they will be able to cope in life and be successful in school.”
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IF YOU GO ▶ WHAT: "Bonding from the Beginning." ▶ WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. ▶ WHERE: Emmaus Room, St. Peter's Church, 114 Cornelia St., Plattsburgh. (Parking lot is on North Catherine Street.) ▶ COST: $35 per person, includes lunch. ▶ PHONE: Call 561-4999 for questions.