Committee for Children Blog

Experience Required: The Key to Early Brain Development

You've
probably heard it a million times: A child's brain needs stimulation to help it
develop. Actually, it’s not that simple. What a young child’s developing brain
really needs is interaction. Although
some brain development is genetic, much of it is influenced by experience and
interactions. The brain needs and
relies on experience. Children learn to process information through
relationships with parents and caregivers, especially in the early years. That's
why watching an educational show is not as enriching or stimulating as one
might think.

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Expand Your Bullying Prevention Toolkit with Social-Emotional Learning

Every year schools and communities across the country unite in their bullying prevention efforts during the month of October for National Bullying Prevention Month. Does this mean that if you focus on bullying prevention for one month you’re done? Not at all! This month is meant to jump-start continued efforts to prevent bullying. And social-emotional learning can make a great addition to the toolkit that helps you do this.

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Book Review: Not in Room 204

When a teacher goes beyond a standard “stranger danger” lesson to tell her class it's more likely to be someone a child knows who touches a child inappropriately and that she would help anyone who had a touching problem, this is just the information and encouragement young Regina needs to report her own scary secret.

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He Just Disclosed in Class! What Do I Do?

The goal of the Child Protection Unit lessons is to develop students' ability to recognize, report, and refuse unsafe or sexually abusive situations. During the lessons, students will hear stories and scenarios about children in unsafe and potentially abusive situations who use their skills to stay safe. This may prompt students to disclose information about similar situations in their own lives, sometimes in the middle of a lesson in front of the entire class! Needless to say, this can put teachers in an uncomfortable position, and in the moment it's hard to know how to respond.… Read More


The Second Step Child Protection Unit: A New Approach to Protecting Children from Abuse and Neglect

Committee for Children has long been at the forefront of the effort to prevent child sexual abuse. In fact child sexual abuse prevention was the goal of Committee for Children's first published curriculum, the Talking About Touching program. Committee for Children has come a long way since then, bringing the power of social-emotional learning into schools around the world with the Second Step program and helping prevent bullying with the Second Step: Bullying Prevention Unit. Much has also changed in the field of child abuse prevention since the release of the Talking About Touching program, so Committee for Children recently returned to its roots and created the Child Protection Unit, a new Second Step unit designed to help protect children from sexual abuse and other forms of abuse and neglect.

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Four Tips for Creating a Safe and Supportive Classroom

It's Monday morning, and your student Charlie storms in, pushing people and throwing things. With Charlie, there are lots of days like this, especially after the weekend. But what you do next can make a big difference to Charlie's day, to your day, and to his overall experience in school. Senior Program Developer Bridgid Normand gives four practical tips for creating an environment in which Charlie and all your other students can learn.

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Welcome Wave of Change: Positive Discipline and SEL in Schools

I bet you can easily conjure up an image of a school teacher rapping the knuckles of a naughty girl with a ruler. Or a principal paddling the bottom of a boisterous boy. For a long time, this was how students were disciplined in school. They were physically punished with rulers, straps, paddles, or hands. Or shamed by being made to stand in the corner, wear a dunce cap, or write lines on the board. Perhaps you think these harsh, punitive discipline practices are a relic of a past, something we now only see in old movies or on episodes of The Simpsons. But in 19 states it’s still legal to use corporal punishment in schools.1 And since the late 1980s, zero-tolerance policies have resulted in thousands of students being excluded from schools, their right to an education stripped away for infractions sometimes as minor as chewing gum.

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Talking About Tough Topics with Tweens: Part 1 of 2

Talking about tough topics, in addition to being an excellent tongue-twister, is a skill every parent needs to master, or at least muddle through. As someone who once found the perfect moment to talk about sex with her five and eight year old children after hearing an NPR story about drive-up windows for boar semen (“What are they even talking about, Mom?”), I am a big fan of seizing natural opportunities. Of course, sometimes those opportunities don’t come soon enough, and we need to nudge them along.… Read More