A LITTLE BOOST

SONIA

Can a parenting framework called Circle of Security-Parenting help teachers better manage their classrooms? United Way and a growing number of teachers in greater New Haven say yes.

“The atmosphere of the classroom changed a lot,” said Sonia Garcia.

Sonia has been a teacher at LULAC Head Start for one year, and she has to deal with behavioral problems head on.

“It really challenges us in the classroom. You wonder, ‘How am I going to handle this?’”

Circle of Security-Parenting is based on decades of research, and it provides a clear roadmap for understanding children’s behavior. Caregivers meet in a group for 8 weeks and learn about children’s cues and how to effectively and calmly respond.

Sonia attended and completed a training session that was offered by United Way with two other teachers from LULAC. The teachers use the lessons they learned about self-care in the classroom.

“[The training] let me take a break, let me take a breather, it helps a lot and it makes a big difference,” said Sonia.

United Way focuses on the early childhood years because this time in a child’s life is so critical for optimal social, emotional, and physical development.

We also know that caring adults like teachers—and the quality of the teacher-child relationship—have a huge impact on a child’s development. Through this effort, we have reached over 350 caregivers and our work has been recognized internationally as a community model for supporting healthy parent-child relationships.

As a mother and grandmother Sonia says what she learned is also helping her nurture her relationships at home. Sonia will soon become trained as a Circle of Security facilitator to help even more teachers and caregivers because she can see the difference in the students she interacts with.

“They feel protected, they feel secure and it gives them that little boost,” said Sonia.