There are two critical issues in preschool social-emotional learning – HiMama directly addresses both.
HiMama directly supports the education of children aged zero to five. Our goal is to improve learning outcomes for children aged zero to five through professional development resources and improved parent communication.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS KEY FOR SUCCESS
Social emotional (SE) development in preschool is essential to school success. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “preschool aged children develop social-emotional skills rapidly, helping them manage stress, solve problems and succeed at school. Skill-based SEL programs that are combined with professional development for teachers and with academic enrichment programs optimize social-emotional growth. The benefits are even greater for children with delays in social-emotional skill development associated with early socioeconomic disadvantage.”
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
There are five components of proven social-emotional programs, according to the RWJ Foundation:
1. Improve classroom management
2. Involve parents
3. Build students’ skills
4. Integrate with academics
5. Include professional development
HiMama is a comprehensive tool that addresses all five components to social-emotional learning and development summarized above:
1. IMPROVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
The HiMama product supports early childhood educators with managing child attendance and other in-classroom documentation to manage their class. Our classroom management and in-classroom documentation functions are based on our report on Documentation in the Early Childhood Setting researched through meetings with local child care and early learning programs.
2. INVOLVE PARENTS
The HiMama product is all about involving parents in their children’s learning and development. It includes real-time updates, photo and video sharing and two-way communications between families and early childhood educators. There is significant research and resources on the importance of family engagement in early childhood education from sources such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
3. BUILD STUDENTS’ SKILLS
The HiMama product is designed to track children’s progress across the critical development domains for children aged zero to five. Tracking children’s progress enables early childhood educators to develop individualized educational programming for each child to maximize their learning and development based on emergent educational philosophies.
4. INTEGRATE WITH ACADEMICS
The HiMama product has state and provincial framework and standards built right into the product to support early childhood educators with lesson planning, development observations and reporting that are all aligned with state and provincial academic standards and guidelines.
5. INCLUDE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The HiMama product visualizes children’s learning and development in a portfolio that can be reviewed by an early childhood educator at the child or classroom level. It has been well-documented in the field of early childhood education, that reflection on children’s learning and development documentation is a key aspect of professional development. This capability within HiMama is a significant enabler of this reflection, review and discussion process.
THERE ARE TWO CRITICAL ISSUES IN PRESCHOOL SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL PROGRAMMING:
First is the documented lack of professional development support for educators. “As noted earlier, the provision of sufficient professional development support to enable preschool teachers to implement SEL programs with high-fidelity is a critical issue affecting program impact on children. In contrast to elementary school teachers, many preschool teachers do not have four-year college degrees, and some have only a high school degree (Zaslow et al., 2010). Preschool teachers vary substantially in the amount of on-the-job training and supervision they receive, and few receive any systematic training in how to support social-emotional development and enhance children’s self-regulation skills in the preschool context.”
The second is the involvement of parents with their child’s caregiver. “A few studies have examined the utility of offering more intensive parent training interventions as universal supports to help parents get positively involved with their child’s school, to reduce the use of punitive discipline practices, and to increase the use of positive management strategies at home. A few randomized trials suggest that these universal programs can improve parenting practices, but engaging parents is difficult, and thus far, the impact on child behavior is typically small.”
We are committed to the professional development of early childhood educators by providing high-quality, free resources about early education through emails to our users, our podcast (more than 10,000 downloads per week), our blog with professional development articles, Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award (over 10,000 votes from the early education community in 2017) whose volunteer jury panel includes the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) CEO Rhian Allvin, ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Myra Jones-Taylor, and Canadian MPP Peter Tabuns, among others.