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Early Childhood Educators in Pinellas Will Receive Socioeconomic Learning Training




The FSU College of Social Work Partnered with The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County to provide educators with the necessary tools to support local children

Clearwater, Fla. – The Florida State University College of Social Work’s Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children has teamed up with the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Pinellas County to provide socioeconomic learning training to local educators.

The training was developed as part of the center’s “Rebound and Recovery” program, which creates courses to assist children ages 4 to 17, as well as their parents and teachers, with social-emotional learning and resilience skill development. In 2021, the center launched a certification program to provide instructors with early childhood social and emotional behavioral support and interventions.
“We are excited to have 65 early childhood educators in Pinellas County, as well as 10 screening and intervention staff from the ELC, taking the certification course thanks to a Mental Health Preschool Development Grant awarded by the Division of Early Learning,” said Lindsay Carson, chief executive officer at ELC of Pinellas County.

The “Rebound and Recovery” program will also be incorporated into a county-wide initiative for the coalition, Behavior Boot Camp. This initiative offers training and interventions to improve safety, connection, problem-solving and behavioral and social-emotional learning skills in preschool settings. The goal of Behavior Boot Camp is to reduce or eliminate preschool expulsions due to behavioral issues.

Early learning settings are seeing a significant increase in young children who have experienced trauma as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s stressors. According to Kelley Miller, program supervisor of Screening and Intervention at ELC of Pinellas County, these children are more likely to exhibit challenging behaviors.

“The Behavior Boot Camp and programs like ‘Rebound and Recovery’ are excellent sources of information for preschool classrooms experiencing a large number of behavioral challenges,” said Ellen Piekalkiewicz, director for the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children. “The programs are also a good fit for any classroom seeking guidance on social and emotional learning.”

“Rebound and Recovery” makes social-emotional learning accessible to children through interactive exercises and activities that include puppets, books and songs. The methods are also cost-effective and simple enough for educators to implement in their classrooms. In addition, the program includes a newsletter for parents and caregivers to enhance the home-to-school connection and ensure that behavioral management practices are consistent across learning environments.

“‘Rebound and Recovery’ is evidence-based and stems from cognitive behavioral therapy,” said Tai Cole, the center’s program manager. “The program uses a technique generally only used by therapists to help educators, children and families make a positive connection between their thoughts, emotions and actions.”

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