January 10, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 1

Support for early childhood grant

Haines is fortunate to have Jeanne Kitayama dedicated to contemporary research on early childhood learning including academics, emotional, social, psychological and neurological. Jeanne brings creative approaches to parent-child relationships through reading.

The “Prime Time to Learn Grant” provides much needed support to parents. Parent classes extend information, empathy and others to empathize with. Children absorb the loving openness or tensions of their caregivers, which has a major impact on the development of security – beginning in utero. I recommend that Haines not lose sight of the benefits of nurturing the community with current educational, social and psychological perspectives. Preventative mental health is an investment. Exposing parents to information helps them to attune to the needs of their children – whether this is offered occasionally or ongoing – something is better than nothing.

Learning is impacted by environment, including adults’ abilities to be mindful, to mentalize the experience of their child. Mentalizing involves thinking about how another person thinks, from their perspective. Teaching parents how the mind, emotions and relational styles influence a child’s development translates to mentally healthier children. Secure children are generally enthusiastic about learning and connecting with others. Insecurity contributes to ambivalent, anxious and avoidant reactions to learning. For essays on parenting and security, go to robingrace.com or circleofsecurity.net.

Robin Grace, psychotherapist

Eugene, Ore.