Kansas City Preschools – Every parent has seen little ones have meltdowns now and then – at home, at school, at the store – but sometimes they’re more annoying than a bad day. It can be a sign of traumatic stress.
A program started in Kansas City, Kan., offers teachers and parents another way to deal with strong emotions and can prevent the long-term effects of trauma. The project has spread in recent months, gaining national attention.
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In the basement of Wyandotte United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kan., Twakisha Jones leads her small class through a song.
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They’re a fun bunch, but Jones has seen some of his young students do more with their lives.
“We don’t know what’s going on at home,” Jones explained. “But when they come in, they come with all kinds of problems – myself – if you look at the different things that are happening in the communities, especially the low-income families.”
Trauma can be a form of torture or abuse, but can also be reduced to trauma, including experiences such as neglect or witnessing violence.
At some level, trauma affects one in four children in the United States, according to the creator of a program designed to address the problem.
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Head Start Trauma Smart was developed by Crittenton Children’s Center, part of the St. Louis Community Health System. Luke of Kansas City. It was released in Wyandotte County schools in 2008.
Avis Smith, who leads the program, said that the traditional method of shutting down anger through punishments or time-outs is wrong, especially for children who are hurt.
“Kids need to connect with the adults around them and their peers,” Smith said. “And so if we can do something to validate those feelings that that kid can see, ‘Okay, he gets it. He totally understands. I’m really upset. [He] doesn’t care. I can hit my friends, but he knows it’s really annoying for me.’”
The program was designed for Head Start, which is the nation’s first education program focused on children from low-income backgrounds.
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Head Start Trauma Smart provides 20 hours of training to preschool teachers, who use the techniques with all of their students.
Teachers deal with angry children, and then help them calm down with the help of a quiet room. These centers have soft-touch materials and mirrors, which help reduce stress at low light levels.
They also use what is called a breathing star. A folder with a paper bird inside that seems to breathe in and out as the folder opens and closes.
“Okay, we’re going to take a deep breath now,” said therapist Brittany Cohoon, demonstrating the technique. “And so they open the breathing star. And we say, ‘breathe in,’ and we breathe in, and we hold. And we breathe.”
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The program provides training for school personnel, such as cafeteria workers and bus drivers, to maintain the language. Parents are taught the techniques.
“If someone’s upset, we’ll have a kid tell them, ‘Okay, you need to calm down. Take a deep breath or something,'” Jones said.
Head Start Trauma Smart is all about trauma. It is designed to help children solve problems that can have serious consequences. Pain can affect brain development and a child’s ability to learn.
“Their brain is always thinking about ‘Where is this threat? What is wrong with this situation? Who might want to hurt me?'” explains Dr. Jerry Dunn, executive director of Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis. “And so they can’t really organize their resources to think, ‘How do I sound this word? How do I find this translation problem?’”
Preschool Trauma Program In Kansas City Getting National Attention
Dunn says that traumatic stress in childhood can lead to dangerous and unhealthy behavior in adolescence and beyond.
In other parts of the country, similar programs have emerged, such as the Circle Preschool Program in Richmond, Va., recently.
The local program actually started in the fall of last year. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided nearly two and a half million dollars to help expand the program to 26 counties in Kansas and Missouri, serving approximately 3,300 preschoolers.
“We’ve had calls and emails from people as far away as Cape Town, South Africa and Grenada and British Columbia,” Smith said.
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The new idea has brought critics, with some wondering how specific education funding can cover the cost of Head Smart Trauma Smart. The program costs 400 dollars per student.
But Smith believes he could have avoided the need for more expensive special education years ago. And avoid bigger problems than that.
“We can stop the negative effects of trauma from starting a child on that school-to-prison pipeline that’s been talked about,” Smith said. “Early childhood education is our greatest asset.”
As the project is still in its early stages, it is not possible to predict the long-term impact of the project.
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But Head Start Trauma Smart is an investment whose creators are hopeful.
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The Hungry For MO podcast is back with more stories about famous Missouri foods, from barbecue to pizza and beyond. Want to find Pre-K programs near you that also offer quality education…
Whether you are looking for day school, full day options, or something more flexible, you can find many options.
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If you are looking for a guide to choosing a high school for your child, there are programs in the metro! Most of these private schools offer a variety of experiences for your children.
You can find resources online, and tutoring services near you! For young children, find the best private schools in Kansas City…
Little Lions Preschool is a Christian school at Plaza Heights Christian Academy in Kansas City. Their teachers are happy to bring interesting and educational experiences to your children. “In Little Lion Kindergarten, we don’t just play together, we pray together!” said Little Lion.
Little Lions combines teaching and learning with fun, exploratory activities! This creates a solid foundation, while allowing your child to explore socially and emotionally. To accomplish this, preschool combines diverse experiences and opportunities with a Christian environment for your child to learn.
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“The educational program at Plaza Heights Christian Academy Preschool is based on the A Beka Christian Curriculum. A Beka curriculum is a fast-paced Christian curriculum that has continued to be successful in the field of Christian education for many years. It is designed to create the first foundation of learning for young children. We believe that incorporating core learning into a well-organized preschool program will help make the transition to kindergarten easier for both child and parent.
Expert teachers and staff are the foundation of this high school program. Their long-term team works with your child every day, so your children will be familiar with teachers who allow for quality education and friendship. If you are looking for the best private preschool programs, this is one of them! Letters, numbers, music, symmetry, music, analogy, science, Bible concepts, and more are taught in their classes. You can find more details about educational materials in the Little Lions Preschool Handbook.
Choose from part-day and full-day programs. Each program runs throughout the school year. Care is available before and after school. There are options to fit every family’s needs! Your child will leave Kindergarten, and life, ready. Not only do the Little Lions make talented students but they are also well-behaved. Find out more about learning to start planning your preschool program. Call (816) 228-0670 for more information.
Ability KC’s Mary Shaw Branton Therapeutic Preschool is a NAEYC-accredited and state-licensed Peer Model school with a rich history of serving children of all abilities. Their special preschool is for children with special needs.
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“We provide medical, therapeutic, and educational services to children ages 1-5 in a caring environment. Our teachers and therapists are professionals who are specially trained to address in a variety of educational, medical, and therapeutic diagnoses, with successful kindergarten transition as our goal.
Each child has their own developmental needs while celebrating the special things that set them apart. Teachers use a social-emotional curriculum that promotes developmentally appropriate practices for children of all abilities, called the Conscious Discipline approach. This is a non-preschool club. 🙂
According to Ability KC, “each classroom boasts a small student-to-teacher ratio that provides opportunities for exploration, interaction and learning. For children with special needs, we
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