Students Serving Moms and Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Children: Embracing Change in an Exceptional Way!

Students Serving Moms and Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Children: Embracing Change in an Exceptional Way!

Megan Reister (Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA), Mary Andren (Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA) and Madelyn A. Dichard (Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7464-5.ch014
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on early childhood, the social and emotional needs of children and their families, use of technology, and use of children's literature in both print form and through digital means. Readers will learn about a service project called Students Serving Moms. Through this service project, pre-service teachers, or education majors, from a teacher preparation program alongside other college students at the university, work with families in the community. This relational service project continued in spite of restrictions from the pandemic due to the members of Students Serving Moms embracing change and using virtual means to work with the children of all abilities and ages in efforts to meet the social and emotional needs of the children. This chapter will benefit teacher educators who may want to replicate this service project at their institutions whether virtually or through face-to-face means. Pre-service teachers will also benefit from reading this chapter as they consider ways they can create connections with children through developmentally appropriate practices.
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Introduction

This chapter focuses on early childhood, social and emotional needs of children, their families, use of technology, and children’s literacy in print form and on early childhood, social and emotional needs of children, their families, use of technology, and children’s literacy in digital means. Students Serving Moms, a service project, will be described. Through this service project, pre-service teachers, or education majors, from a teacher preparation program alongside other college students at a small liberal arts university located in the Midwest United States, work with families in the community by providing childcare, planning and carrying out activities with the children, and tutoring when needed. In exchange, the college students are able to make connections with a family in the community while going to college. This relational service project continued in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and was able to meet social and emotional needs of children through virtual means rather than the traditional face-to-face means. This was able to occur due to the members of Students Serving Moms embracing change from the traditional format of the service project taking place via face-to-face means and through utilizing technology to make connections and form bonds with another. Embracing change in this way allowed the college students to use virtual means to work with the children of all abilities and ages to meet the children’s social and emotional needs.

Why the need for this embracing of change? In 2012, in Ohio where the service project takes place, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted the Early Learning and Development Standards. These standards include the Social and Emotional Development domain that addresses the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that children develop within awareness and expression of emotion, self-concept, self-regulation, sense of competence, and relationships with others. They cover grades K–12. Some quick examples of some of the standards are as follows (Ohio Department of Education, 2019):

  • Competency A: Self-Awareness: A1: Demonstrate awareness of personal emotions: A1.4.a Recognize that current events can impact emotions.

  • Competency B: Self-Management: B2: Set, monitor, adapt, and evaluate goals to achieve success in school and life: B2. 2.a Identify how adults and peers can help with a goal.

  • Competency C: Social Awareness: C1: Recognize, identify, and empathize with the feelings and perspective of others: C1. 1.a Identify facial and body cues representing feelings in others.

  • Competency D: Relationship Skills: D1: Apply positive verbal and non-verbal communication and social skills to interact effectively with others and in groups: D1. 1.d Actively engage in positive interactions to make connections with peers, adults and community to support and achieve common goals.

  • Competency E: Responsible Decision-Making E2: Identify potential outcomes to help make constructive decisions: E2. 2.c Identify reliable sources of adult help in various settings and actively seek adults for support.

All of these standards, and others, are directly or indirectly covered through participation in Students Serving Moms. For example, helpers are able to help identify potential outcomes to help make constructive decisions through their interactions with the children and families. Children can practice with the helpers identifying facial and body cues that represent feelings in others and especially given current circumstances, children can recognize that current events can impact emotions as they are experiencing those emotions through Virtual Students Serving Moms.

Reflections from the two student leaders of Students Serving Moms who have served the service project as leaders in the traditional format and served as leaders in the virtual format will be shared. They are both studying to be teachers and are currently student teaching during their final semester of college and will be graduating soon. These student leaders will share the connections they have made between the service project and what they are doing in the work they do in their classrooms at the pre-service level with regard to meeting the social and emotional needs of children and their students both inside and outside the classroom!

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collaboration: The interactive and dynamic process of sharing and working together to accomplish a mutual goal.

Communication: This process involves transferring information and requires at least two individuals to participate. One is the sender or encoder of information and the other is the receiver or decoder of the information.

Children’s Development: The study of developmental principles within children.

Early Childhood Education: The education and teaching of children from newborn through the age of eight years old.

Service Project: A community outreach or joint venture that enables individuals to serve others. In the context of this chapter, Students Serving Moms is a service project that connects college students with local families to provide childcare and other assistance to the families.

Virtual: Involving or incorporating technology and/or the internet.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP): Strategies or practices that are used when teaching that are appropriate for children based on the ages and abilities of the children.

Rapport: Building of a relationship between two or more people or an attachment or development of a human bond between two or more individuals.

Family-Centered Model: This model places the family at the center and prioritizes the needs of the family.

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