February 27, 2024

Our First Work is with Ourselves

There is music in words, and it can be heard, you know, by thinking.
– E.L. Doctorow, Homer and Langley

In a recent episode of That Early Childhood Nerd, host Heather Bernt-Santy talked with Nancy Rosenow, former Executive Director of Dimensions Foundation, on Nancy’s book Encouragement Every DayRosenow reflected:

“If we work with young children, our first work is with ourselves…We’re all fellow human beings together. We’ve just had more experience than they have in the world, so we serve as guides for them…and if unhappy people are serving as guides for our children that’s not going to be good for anyone!”

She added, “It’s all of our attitudes about learning and all of our attitudes about life and really coming to the realization that a lot of it really is a choice…What really concerns me is if we have people working with children who are feeling very depressed or just very down about life…what can we do to lift folks up and support them and help them remember what really is good about life? We still have an awful lot of things that are really challenging, but I always say it’s an ‘and’ world.”

Referencing an earlier conversation with Carol Garboden Murray, Bernt-Santy remarked, “I think [the romanticization of childhood] sometimes feeds the frustration for teachers when they think children are angels…magic…heavenly beings, and then they’re not! That can be very stressful for us so some of that choosing our response and reflecting on ourselves maybe involves what was our idea of the child when we began.”

Rosenow speaks to all early childhood professionals when she says, “Remind yourself that what you’re doing is so important and that there are ways we can support ourselves and keep growing so we’re excited about life…If we’re going to work with young children, I think it’s our responsibility to be people that are excited about life.”

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