Supporting children in the wake of violence at the U.S. Capitol

This is a guest blog post by Maria Theodorakakis, a City Connects Research Associate and a psychologist at  Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Watching — and often rewatching — the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week can be incredibly destabilizing for children. Seeing the seat of government desecrated by mob violence and symbols of hate can be upsetting and scary.

So it’s crucial to address children’s questions and concerns in a supportive and age-appropriate manner. Children may have difficulty making sense of what they are seeing on the news or overhearing adults discuss. In response to such events, younger children often wonder whether they and their loved ones are safe. Older children may ask about the underlying social justice issues. Encouraging children to ask questions makes it clear what information they want and need. We can then offer realistic reassurance based on facts and point out, as Mr. Rogers advised, that in a crisis there are always people who help.

We should also think about how adults can serve as socio-emotional role models. As adults process their own real-time emotions, they have to be aware of how their responses will be interpreted by children in their lives. Often there’s this misconception that adults should not react, they should avoid bringing challenging topics up with children, and that adults should be brave and stoic and hide their distress. But it’s healthier for kids to see adults have authentic reactions, name their feelings, and effectively implement strategies for managing them. For example, adults can be role models by developing their own good habits, limiting media consumption and choosing not to stay glued to televisions and phone feeds all night, because information overload can raise everyone’s anxiety.  Continue reading

The Weekly Connect 1/11/21

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Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Educators can help students process the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol.

The CDC says teachers should be next in line for COVID-19 vaccines.

Educators and local television stations team up to reach students who don’t have Internet access.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 12/21/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

In-school tutoring programs could slow students’ COVID-19 learning loss.

Massachusetts educators and staff in the cue to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Teachers learn to provide trauma-informed care for undocumented students.

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The Weekly Connect 12/14/20

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Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Mental health support for teachers is a top priority in Colorado and other states.

California parents sue, claiming remote learning programs are inequitable.

An elementary school in Zillah, Wash., wins recognition for closing achievement gaps.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 12/7/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

City Connects shows how schools can systematically help students during the pandemic.

Students are falling behind in math.

Schools are working hard to provide meals for students.

Teaching mindfulness skills to help students cope.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 11/23/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

How schools can handle the skyrocketing rates of students’ mental health emergencies that have occurred since the pandemic started.

School districts lack comprehensive plans to address students’ learning loss this fall.

Remote learning makes it harder to fight chronic absenteeism.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 11/16/20

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Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

African American girls face racial and gender bias in schools.

Oregon is building a universal preschool program.

Physical education teachers work to keep students moving during the pandemic.

To read more, click on the following links.

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The Weekly Connect 11/9/20

Here’s the new edition of The Weekly Connect. Check it out and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox!

Here are some of the things we’ve been reading about this week:

Students lost ground during last spring’s school closures.

San Francisco keeps schools closed, even thought its infection rates are down.

Social-emotional learning helps students in Dallas succeed.

To read more, click on the following links.

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