By Dora Jacildo
Children Today was established by founders who believed that every child was deserving of an early childhood grounded in respect. They knew that children would excel if they were given an environment where they could feel emotionally and physically safe. Our staff spends most of their time providing this experience for the children in our care with empathy, respect, compassion and a thorough understanding of child development as the foundations for the work we do in our classrooms and in our offices.
Non-violent care-giving means being very intentional about our interactions with children, about the materials and equipment in the classroom, and about our connections with one another. It means eliminating bias and judgment and embracing the idea that every child is doing the best they can with the skills they have. Our focus is on sharing power, teaching problem solving skills, engaging in critical thinking and ensuring that our time spent with children is never punitive and always supportive.
However, in order for our philosophy to be successfully implemented, we must ensure that our parents are also cared for with the goals of emotional and physical safety in mind. For many of our families, violence has been a part of their daily lives. Their relationships have not been respectful and their communities have not been safe. Many arrive at our centers feeling very guarded, expecting that we too will hurt them in some way if they let us in. But because the philosophy works so well, in time families come to realize the fundamental importance of a relationship like this and it serves as an example for how they can connect with their children.
Non-violent caregiving benefits all children, but it is absolutely life changing for a family experiencing homelessness.
Various members of the Children Today staff contribute to these blog posts.