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Cuddling, Consciousness, and Cognition: The Significance of Emotional Engagement on Development and Learning
Wednesday May 25, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
Presented by Keith L. Pentz, National Early Childhood Specialist, Kaplan Early Learning Company
Sponsored by Kaplan Early Learning Company
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Emotional engagement that stems from loving and caring interactions, the creation of relationships, and a stimulating environment has a direct and significant impact on a young child’s development and learning. The shaping of a mind and how the child will respond to life events is forever guided by the touches, gazes, caresses, cuddling, language, songs, and playful experiences during the first years of life.
This session is designed to provide an examination of the biopsychosocial perspective on development of very young children—primarily from birth until two years of age. Historically, we moved from one-dimensional behavioral and genetic explanations of development and learning through the nature-nurture debates. With the advent of more research as it relates to epigenetics, attachment, the impact of trauma and violence, and brain/cognitive processing abilities, we now have a broader perspective on which to design and develop programs and practices that truly meet the needs of an infant and the very young child.
Specific practices—be they gazes, touches, interactions, etc.—have been shown to provide exceptional responses and promote development and learning, particularly when demonstrated in a loving, nurturing, and caring environment. The emotional component of any program and practice is a critical factor when engaging the very young. A developing brain and mind (consciousness) are significantly impacted by the presence or absence of love and nurture. The society of tomorrow is being held in our arms today!
Keith L. Pentz, National Early Childhood Specialist for Kaplan Early Learning Company, has been in the field of education for more than 35 years. Keith began his career by working in childcare with infants and toddlers, taught elementary students as well as Kindergarten, and then taught Pre-Kindergarten. Following his experiences in the classroom, Keith moved on to teach at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, and he also was an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, before beginning his career as a consultant.