Columbia organizations collaborate to promote children's emotional health

Friday, January 14, 2011 | 5:02 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A collection of city organizations is calling on the community to recognize the emotional needs of children.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 24, a five-day series of events hosted by Columbia Cares for Kids, a collection of the city’s human agencies and educational entities, will be held in Columbia to promote the emotional well-being of children.

Schedule of events

Monday, Jan. 24

Press Conference

1o a.m. to 11 a.m.

Field Elementary School, 1010 Rangeline St.

Open to the public

Book Signing

12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Daniel Boone Regional Library, 100 W. Broadway

Open to the public

In-Service Training

4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Columbia Public Schools

Invitation only

Book Review

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Graduate students

Invitation only

Tuesday, Jan. 25

Parent Training

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Columbia Housing Authority

Invitation only

Child Care Provider Training

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Child Care Aware

Invitation Only

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Family Support Division Training

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Boone and Callaway County Children's Division

Invitation only

Parent Facilitator Training

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Partner agency parent designees

Invitation only

Thursday, Jan. 27

Train the Trainer

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Practical Parenting Partnerships

Invitation only

Community Training

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Jefferson Junior High School, 713 Rogers St.

Open to the public

Friday, Jan. 28

Teacher Collaboration Day

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Columbia Public Schools

Invitation only

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The “Week of the Emotionally Healthy Child” will incorporate presentations and training sessions to promote five critical needs for emotional health derived from Dr. Gerald Newmark and his book “How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.”

“We’re really wanting a community that says emotional health is important,” Joanne Nelson, central region coordinator for Child Care Aware of Missouri, said.

Nelson said the organizations want to call attention to the importance of addressing the emotional needs of children.

Even though a 2001 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that fostering social and emotional health in children should be a national priority, Newmark said he doesn’t think much has come from it.

“We haven’t got to the rooot cause," he said.

Newmark, an educator and researcher on the emotional and social development of children, describes this problem as the “missing agenda,” arguing that emotional needs are addressed only in a time of crisis and then ignored shortly after.

“The neglect of emotional health is one of the biggest problems we have,” Newmark said. “It’s not understood and not recognized and that’s what makes it worse.”

One of the problems, he said, is that adults too often act in a reactive, overly controlling, negative and inconsistent manner toward children.

“We don’t ask enough questions,” Newmark said. “We’re always giving orders.”

In order to effectively address this problem, he said parents and schools should adopt a new approach to parenting and teaching using tools that satisfy the emotional needs of children.

In “How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children,” Newmark outlines this approach by calling on parents and teachers to recognize the five critical needs of children: to feel respected, important, accepted, included and secure.

For each critical need, Newmark describes how adults unknowingly and unintentionally fail to meet that need and then outlines ways to satisfy it.

These five needs are the basis for the training session and presentations that will be held throughout the five days of events.

Some of the training sessions are through invitation only. But, the community training session requires no registration and is open to the public. It will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27 at Jefferson Junior High School, located at 713 Rogers St.

Belinda Masters, coordinator for Parents As Teachers, believes the knowledge shared at the events could have a major impact on the city.

"If our community can remember some of the things we learn during this week of events, apply that to our interactions with one another, it could make a big difference in the emotional health of folks in our city," Masters said.

For more information about the events contact Bryon White, Community Partnership Administer for Head Start, at 443-8706 ex. 1057.

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