Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey (ChildWIN) Tackles Trauma and Builds Resilience for NJ’s Children

Date:     June 20, 2019                                         Contact Name: Pamela Stalcup
E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone Number:  732-246-8060 x123

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – June 20, 2019- Parents in one Somerset County childcare center are calling it “one of the most helpful programs out there to help me better understand and connect with my child”.  The teachers are saying the project has transformed the classrooms and center into a space where staff feel more confident in handling children’s emotions and behaviors in a positive, teachable way.  And the children themselves love the results.

These changes are the result of a new, research based 6-month intensive program offered by The Child Wellness Institute of New Jersey in partnership with The Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater, funded by the James B. Boskey Memorial Foundation. The program — Trauma Transformation:  Healing Hearts and Building Resilience — works with childcare centers, school districts and before/after school programs to transform them into calm, nurturing social emotional environments.  It involves an assessment of the childcare center operations, intensive staff training and coaching, the creation of “safe spaces” such as a “Cozy Corner for Kids”, tools for children such as Calm Down Kits and Feelings Thermometers and a parent workshop. It also includes a component on trauma and its effect on a child’s brain, body and behaviors so that staff and parents are equipped to work with children who may have experienced trauma in their early years.

Parents like Heather Danberry feel programs like this really help use common language at school and home to support her son, Travis. “My son, Travis, began attending Kiddie Academy in September 2018 when he was 2 years old.  Our family had experienced a great deal of change, which had a significant impact on him.  In addition to these changes, Travis has a severe speech delay, inhibiting his ability to express himself verbally.  The combination of everything led to undesirable behaviors.  With open communication, understanding and his teachers’ training through the Trauma Transformation Initiative, Travis has flourished.  HIs teachers now have a better understanding of how to address his emotions and how to help him better understand them.  The calm down kits, specifically allowing him to blow bubbles or look at the feelings chart have been very helpful.  He loves bubbles and the act of making them allows him to control his breathing which helps calm him down.  The feelings chart is an easy way for him to let his teachers know how he is feeling when he isn’t able to verbally express himself.  I am very happy with the positive changes that have occurred and am thankful for the training the teachers received.” 

The teachers really responded to the training because it had a positive effect on their classrooms and on the children.  “The children in my class solve problems between one another by telling each other how they’re feeling. They go to the feeling chart and point to the level that they are feeling when they have a disagreement between each other or when they’re happy. This has helped them solved problems between one another themselves,” stated Erin K, teacher Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater.

But teachers and parents are not the only ones noticing the positive difference. The children ages 0-5 are learning to identify emotions, calm down in a safe and healthy way and build their own internal resilience; skills they will need long after their child care years.  One 4 year old child told us, “thank you for letting me use the Calm Down Kit. It really helped me take my mind off why I was upset. I love the kaleidoscope!”

The project’s evaluation found that teachers improved understanding of children’s behaviors, increased their use of effective social emotional strategies in the classroom and a reduction in challenging classroom behaviors. The results also show parents learned new ways to connect with their child and more effectively handle challenging behaviors.

The Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater was one of the first centers to offer this class to its parents with astounding results. “Our parents are asking us when we are offering it again! This has been such a valuable addition to our curriculum. A true way to help parents navigate and better understand their child’s temperament, feelings and behaviors. Plus, each parent leaves with practical tools to help their child at home!”, said Christina Andersen, Executive Director of Kiddie Academy of Bridgewater.

“We have really used the training by ChildWIN to connect with each and every child in a positive way. When they walk in we help them identify their feelings and we stay connected to each child. They feel safe, happy and empowered!”

The Child Wellness Insitute is a subsidiary of Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey and offers state-of-the-art trainings and parent workshops to any organization that works with children and families. The goal is to support parents and professionals with developing their children’s social-emotional health; which ultimately, helps children grow into the healthy adults.

Executive Director Rush Russell stated, “Results like these demonstrate how programs starting in early childhood can help children build resilience and support their health and development.”

ChildWIN is a non-profit organization available to every county in New Jersey. For more information on bringing ChildWIN to your organization or become a donor for the Child Wellness Institute of NJ, please call 732-246-8060 or email [email protected]  For more information about Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, please visit www.preventchildabusenj.org or call 732-246-8060 x123.

Making an Impact at Kiddie Academy, Bridgewater, NJ

Erin K. standing near her Cozy Corner that helps children identify their feelings and take a moment to calm down with a Calm Down Kit and Feelings Thermometer.

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Founded in 1979, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey promotes Great Childhoods, positive parenting and healthy child development.  PCA-NJ’s evidence-based programs in all 21 NJ counties are designed to prevent child abuse and neglect in all forms for all NJ children.  PCA-NJ is the New Jersey State Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, a network of chapters throughout the United States.

www.preventchildabusenj.org  

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