I was not familiar with any of the books when we were asked to chose one. I tried to go with recommendations and reading the excerpts and previews hoping to get a book that I would find valuable. So often this fall, I found myself talking about this book and the findings in the book that supported things we were doing in school. The key ideas of empathy, play and story have surfaced many times in my room this year. In Kindergarten our new 2nd Step Bullying program spends the first unit teaching about understanding and recognizing emotions and having students study photos. The next section in the program is on empathy. I also have tried to use thoughts from this book as I weigh my conflicting thoughts on the increasing standards and academic push in kindergarten. I have seen students are definitely capable of achieving the expectations we set for them, and I am proud of all the successful readers and writers that leave my classroom. We need to not forget the social aspects either though. I have attended conferences on using play in the classroom, and think maybe I need to revisit some of my notes and books to think about incorporate more play and movement and social skill development, encourage a few more right brain activities.
Ever since attending the conference for our ESA by Kathie Nunley, I have received her newsletter. This fall just as we began reading this book, one of her hot topics featured research on one of the key ideas from the book. The following is the hot topic :
“ The right amygdala (RA) is responsible for recognizing
interpersonal emotions. It begins functioning around 6 months gestation.
Prenatal drug use or severe depression in the third trimester, or early
neglect can hijack the RA. A child with such a tainted RA cannot self-regulate.
They are in perpetual stress, the RA is running free and the child cannot
participate in the bonding event. They have difficulty reading others. This
creates the “attachment disorders”. Steven Gray, PhD, University
of the Rockies. “Amygdala and Attachment: Existential Implications.”
Presented August 13, 2010. APA Annual Convention, San Diego, CA.