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Addressing Childhood Trauma in the Classroom

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Over the past few years, the issue of childhood trauma in the United States has become significant. A growing number of children are experiencing abuse, neglect, or some other form of maltreatment each year. Considering the stressful home lives of

Over the past few years, the issue of childhood trauma in the United States has become significant. A growing number of children are experiencing abuse, neglect, or some other form of maltreatment each year. Considering the stressful home lives of maltreated children, the one sure sanctuary is school. However, this idea requires teachers to be actively involved in identifying and caring for the children who need it most. Traumatic childhood experiences leave lasting scars on its victims, so it is helpful if teachers learn how to identify and support children who have lived through them. It is unfortunate that teachers will most likely encounter children throughout their career who have experienced horrendous things, but it is a reality. With this being said, teachers need to develop an understanding of what traumatized children live with, and learn how to address these issues with skilled sensitivity. Schools are not just a place where children learn how to read and write; they build the foundation for a successful life. This project was designed to provide teachers with a necessary resource for helping children who have suffered traumatic experiences. The methodology of this project began with interviews with organizations specializing in working with traumatized children such as Arizonans for Children, Free Arts for Abused Children, The Sojourner Center, and UMOM. The next step was a review of the current literature on the subject of childhood trauma. The findings have all been compiled into one, convenient document for teacher use and distribution. Upon completion of this document, an interactive video presentation will be made available through an online education website, so that distribution will be made simpler. Hopefully, teachers will share the information with people in their networks and create a chain reaction. The goal is to make it available to as many teachers as possible, so that more children will receive the support they need.

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2016-05

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Rolling Down Ramps: A Unit Plan to Address the Urgent Need of STEM Instruction in Preschool

Description

STEM education stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is necessary for students to keep up with global competition in the changing job market, technological advancements and challenges of the future. However, American students are lacking STEM achievement at

STEM education stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is necessary for students to keep up with global competition in the changing job market, technological advancements and challenges of the future. However, American students are lacking STEM achievement at the state, national and global levels. To combat this lack of achievement I propose that STEM instruction should begin in preschool, be integrated into the curriculum and be inquiry based. To support this proposal I created a month-long physics unit for preschoolers in a Head Start classroom. Students investigated the affect of incline, friction and weight on the distance of a rolling object, while developing their pre-math, pre-literacy and social emotional skills.

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2015-05

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Mixed messages: best practice, quality, and readiness : the power of discourse to shape an Arizona early childhood system

Description

This study sought to analyze the messages being conveyed through the discourse utilized in presenting the public face of The Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, popularly known as First Things First (FTF) and to reveal how the different

This study sought to analyze the messages being conveyed through the discourse utilized in presenting the public face of The Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, popularly known as First Things First (FTF) and to reveal how the different discourses and ideologies within FTF have been in the past and currently are "contending and struggling for dominance (Wodak, 2007)." FTF is located within the policy realm of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). The people and the system have been very influential in guiding the course and policies set forth in Arizona since the citizen initiative, Proposition 203, passed in 2006, which allowed for the creation of the Early Childhood Development and Health Board. Lakoff's techniques for analyzing frames of discourse were utilized in conjunction with critical discourse analysis in order to tease out frames of reference, shifts in both discourse and frames, specific modes of messaging, and consistencies and inconsistencies within the public face presented by FTF.

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Date Created
2013

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Integrating Music in the Classroom

Description

A look at the benefits of the integration of music in the classroom. This thesis focuses on how music supports brain development and how that affects the ways children learn the classroom. It also highlights how current teachers feel about

A look at the benefits of the integration of music in the classroom. This thesis focuses on how music supports brain development and how that affects the ways children learn the classroom. It also highlights how current teachers feel about integrating music in the classroom and the best practices used for integrating music. Lastly, this thesis contains strategies on how to integrate music in the classroom using the Common Core standards as well as personal compositions written using Common Core standards.

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2013-05

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Mediational effects of feedback style on the relation between teachers' depressive symptoms and classroom quality in 3rd grade

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Described is a study investigating the feasibility and predictive value of the Teacher Feedback Coding System, a novel observational measure of teachers’ feedback provided to students in third grade classrooms. This measure assessed individual feedback events across three domains:

Described is a study investigating the feasibility and predictive value of the Teacher Feedback Coding System, a novel observational measure of teachers’ feedback provided to students in third grade classrooms. This measure assessed individual feedback events across three domains: feedback type, level of specificity and affect of the teacher. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed five factors indicating separate types of feedback: positive and negative academic-informative feedback, positive and negative behavioral-informative feedback, and an overall factor representing supportive feedback. Multilevel models revealed direct relations between teachers’ negative academic-informative feedback and students’ spring math achievement, as well as between teachers’ negative behavioral-informative feedback and students’ behavior patterns. Additionally, a fall math-by-feedback interaction was detected in the case of teachers’ positive academic-informative feedback; students who began the year struggling in math benefitted from more of this type of feedback. Finally, teachers’ feedback was investigated as a potential mediator in a previously established relation between teachers’ self-reported depressive symptoms and the observed quality of the classroom environment. Partial mediation was detected in the case of teachers’ positive academic-informative feedback, such that this type of feedback was accountable for a portion of the variance observed in the relation between teachers’ depressive symptoms and the quality of the classroom environment.

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Date Created
2015

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The cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships of early childhood school assessment policies with reading instruction and reading achievement: evidence from early childhood longitudinal study

Description

The purposes of this study were (1) to examine the direct and indirect effect of school-level testing policies on reading achievement though changes in amount and types of reading instruction, (2) to investigate the reading trajectories moderated by school-level testing

The purposes of this study were (1) to examine the direct and indirect effect of school-level testing policies on reading achievement though changes in amount and types of reading instruction, (2) to investigate the reading trajectories moderated by school-level testing policies longitudinally, and (3) to examine the relationship between testing policies and the achievement gap by exploring whether certain student characteristics moderate the relationship between testing policy and reading achievement, using Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS-K) Cohort of 2010-2011 data. Findings from a multilevel full structural mediation model suggest that school-level frequency of state/local standardized tests had an indirect effect on student reading achievement through changes in both amount and the types of instruction at the school-level (cross-sectional fall kindergarten sample =12,241 children nested in 1,067 kindergarten classes). The findings from a three-level growth models indicated only children of Asian background and children from high socio-economic backgrounds who had frequent standardized tests in kindergarten accelerated in their monthly reading growth, whereas other children (e.g., low SES, non-Asian children) did not show any changes in the rate of the reading growth (longitudinal sample from fall of kindergarten to spring of first grade = 7,392 children nested in 744 kindergartens). The findings from the current study suggest that testing policy is not an effective means to reduce the achievement gap of children from disadvantaged family backgrounds, underperforming children or that children from low socieo-economic backgrounds. These children did not seem to benefit from frequent standardized tests longitudinally. Implications for supporting school assessment practices and instruction are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Free play: through the eyes of a child and early childhood professional

Description

Via my personal, academic and professional journey, I closely examine my career growth and how my perspectives on early childhood environments developed in reference to free play. Using a narrative format, I share personal experiences that have shaped my

Via my personal, academic and professional journey, I closely examine my career growth and how my perspectives on early childhood environments developed in reference to free play. Using a narrative format, I share personal experiences that have shaped my views on free play. Free play is a type of play that features choices, freedom of selection, cognitive and social development, and child interest. I review relevant literature and weave in my personal and professional experiences in order to reflect on free play from two different perspectives: participant (child), and the Early Childhood Professional (teacher and/or administrator). I also demonstrate how my professional and academic milestones have contributed to my developing beliefs and ideas put into practice about free play in early childhood environments.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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The relations of household chaos to children's language development: the mediating roles of children's effortful control and parenting

Description

This study drew upon a bioecological framework to empirically investigate the relations between environmental chaos and preschoolers' language across time, including the potentially mediating roles of children's effortful control and parenting. Child sex also was examined as a moderator of

This study drew upon a bioecological framework to empirically investigate the relations between environmental chaos and preschoolers' language across time, including the potentially mediating roles of children's effortful control and parenting. Child sex also was examined as a moderator of these relations. For this study, the following data were collected at 30, 42, and 54 months of age. Household chaos and (at 30 months) socioeconomic status (SES) were reported by mothers. Children's effortful control (EC) was rated by mothers and nonparental caregivers, and was observed during a number of laboratory tasks. Maternal vocalizations were assessed during free play sessions with their children (at 30 and 42 months), and supportive and unsupportive parenting behaviors and affect were observed during free play and teaching tasks at each age. Mothers also reported on their own reactions to children's negative emotions. Finally, (at 54 months) children's expressive and receptive language was measured with a standard assessment. Structural equation modeling and path analyses indicated that SES at 30 months and greater levels of household chaos at 42 months predicted not only poorer language skills, but also deficits in children's EC and less supportive parenting in low-income mothers at 54 months, even when controlling for stability in these constructs. Children's effortful control at 42 months, but not parenting, positively predicted later language, suggesting that EC may play a mediating role in the relations between household chaos, as well as SES, and preschoolers' language abilities. Child sex did not moderate the pattern of relations. Post-hoc analyses also indicated that the negative relation between chaos and language was significant only for children who had low EC at 42 months. This study represents a much-needed addition to the currently limited longitudinal research examining environmental chaos and children's developmental outcomes. Importantly, findings from this study elucidate an important process underlying the links between chaos and children's language development, which can inform interventions and policies designed to support families and children living in chaotic home environments.

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Date Created
2012

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Methamphetamine: examining Arizona's drug endangered children

Description

Children removed from methamphetamine laboratories are a severely understudied population despite the widespread deprivation parental methamphetamine abuse has on children, particularly in homes where methamphetamine is produced. Arizona's children are uniquely affected by the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine due

Children removed from methamphetamine laboratories are a severely understudied population despite the widespread deprivation parental methamphetamine abuse has on children, particularly in homes where methamphetamine is produced. Arizona's children are uniquely affected by the use and manufacturing of methamphetamine due to the geographic location and landscape of the state. A sample of 144 children removed from their homes during the seizure of methamphetamine laboratories, as part of the Arizona Drug Endangered Children program between 1999 and 2003, was investigated. Results indicate that younger children were more likely to be reported by Child Protective Services as high or moderate risk of further abuse, test positive for methamphetamine, and have maternal alleged perpetrators of abuse. Older children were more likely to be reported as low risk for further abuse, test negative for methamphetamine, and have paternal alleged perpetrators of abuse. Results also show that children initially placed in foster care were more likely to remain in foster care at the final assessment than to be living with a parent or kin. These findings have implications for individuals working with children removed from methamphetamine laboratories, including Child Protective Services case workers, medical personnel, temporary and permanent child caregivers (i.e., foster care, kin care, adoptive parents, and shelters), and community members (i.e., teachers). Recommendations based on study findings are offered to child and family advocates and interventionists.

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Date Created
2011

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Maternal trauma in a child welfare context: symptomology, adult attachment, and parenting style

Description

Traumatic events have deleterious effects biologically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. Events may include violence, neglect, and abuse and are best understood through a lifecourse perspective. Preventable and treatable, traumatic exposure promotes the development of trauma symptoms including avoidance, hyperarousal, increased

Traumatic events have deleterious effects biologically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. Events may include violence, neglect, and abuse and are best understood through a lifecourse perspective. Preventable and treatable, traumatic exposure promotes the development of trauma symptoms including avoidance, hyperarousal, increased fear, intrusive experiences, and aggression/violence. Trauma symptomology is thought to be an underlying cause of child maltreatment and intergenerational cycles of abuse
eglect. Traumatic symptoms may interfere with the ability to work, function, and care for young children and may accompany a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis.

Although these experiences are known to be harmful, little research has focused on experiences of mothers involved in the child welfare system with young children (< 5 years). Subsequently, this study explored maternal experiences of trauma whilst calculating one of the first PTSD estimates. Types of trauma exposure, age of exposure, and event details were explored alongside history of substance use, domestic violence, and mental illness. Trauma symptom type, severity, and frequency were assessed. Utilizing adult attachment as a partial mediator, relationships between trauma exposure, trauma symptoms, and parenting were examined.

Supported by a university-community collaboration within the Safe Babies Court Teams Program in Maricopa County, Arizona, this study is exploratory and cross-sectional. A convenience sample of child welfare involved mothers (N = 141) with young children were recruited who were new clinical intakes with open court dependencies. Data on child/adult traumatic events, trauma symptoms, adult attachment, and parenting were collected. Results indicated high rates of complex/chronic trauma, specifically domestic violence and physical/sexual abuse. Mothers experienced higher than average childhood adversity/emotional abuse with significant overlap between trauma exposure and reduced mental health. PTSD rates ranged from 35-39%. Adult attachment did not to mediate trauma on parenting behaviors however strong and significant direct effects were found. Insecure-disorganized and insecure-resistant were the most dominant attachment styles.

Overall, these findings indicate the complex lifecourse nature of trauma exposure and the need to pay special attention to mental health and domestic violence histories in child welfare involved mothers of young children. Implications for social work practice, policy, and research are presented and provide impetus for continued future work.

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2015