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Category : Early Childhood

Creating a New Narrative of African American Families
​The African American Babies Coalition is a collective of African Americans who are committed to promoting the healthy development of African American babies. The Coalition brings together parents and grandparents, educators, childcare providers, nonprofit and civic leaders, researchers, and public health professionals from across the Twin Cities. Our goal is to build the capacity of the community to encourage healthy brain development, reduce toxic stress, understand historical trauma, and build practical parenting practices. Recently, the African American Babies Coalition collaborated with Twin Cities’ Public Television to produce short public service announcements (PSA) using all African Americans families. The PSA’s focus on various topics such as how tantrums teach, toxic stress and the myth of spoiling babies. New Representation of Healthy Families The information in these topics isn’t new. However,...
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Supporting Families Through Parenting Groups
Parenting can be rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. In fact, it’s the toughest job you’ll never get paid to do. That’s especially true when families are struggling with homelessness, mental illness, unemployment, poverty, special needs and legal concerns, all of which disparately affect families from cultural and ethnic minorities. One of the ways that we can support families as they work to find stable lives is through resources that can help parents succeed. Parenting groups – and the natural networks of peers that form when parents learn and grow together – can be an important source of support and learning. With this in mind, the Kofi Services team at Wilder recently coordinated a parenting group with funding from the Ramsey County Community...
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Early Education Alone Won't Eliminate Disparities
The Pioneer Press Editorial Board recently called on legislators to give priority to the expansion of early-learning scholarships that provide low-income children access to high-quality early education and produce the best economic return (“Aim early-education scholarships at greatest needs,” December 8, 2016). That targeted early-learning approach is good as far as it goes. However, more than a decade of research shows that the focus on early education alone is insufficient to reduce the gaping academic disparities and to achieve racial, economic, health, and educational equity for all children. A recent report by Wilder Research, the University of Minnesota, and Development and Training, Inc., Prenatal to Age 3: A Comprehensive, Racially-Equitable Policy Plan for Universal Healthy Child Development, describes a different set of early childhood policy...
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​​Is Play Therapy Right for Your Child?
Johnny just started first grade this fall. Kindergarten went well, but so far this year, Johnny’s parents have received five calls home about Johnny being aggressive with other children, not following adult directions and not sitting still. When asked what is upsetting him, Johnny says “I don’t know” or “I was mad.” After struggling to help their son’s behavior, Johnny’s parents make the difficult decision to pursue therapy for him. Then comes another challenge: What kind of therapy? The number of options can feel overwhelming. In this blog post, I hope to make that decision easier by using Johnny as an example to provide information about experiential play therapy, a type of therapy that I practice in the Wilder Foundation's Community Mental Health and Wellness Services....
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Beyond the Classroom
Wilder’s Child Development Center is located in Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, a place with a long history, a poverty rate of 35 percent, and a diverse community of hopeful families and children with bright futures. Our neighborhood’s disparities mean that children may belong to highly mobile families who face barriers around employment, housing, transportation, and education. But the students and parents at our preschool are resilient, capable and excited to learn. Recently, a Wilder Research evaluation of developmental gains by children at the Center showed that the majority of the students evaluated met or exceeded school readiness standards in the 2014-15 school year. Most children at the Center improved in six core developmental areas from fall 2014 to spring 2015, and a majority were meeting or exceeding...
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Transition Troubles: Helping Your Child Deal with Changes in Activities
​An ordinary day is full of activities for children, which means that it’s full of transitions between activities, too. In fact, a child who attends a child care center may experience as many as 30 transitions a day. That’s a lot of change for a little person to absorb. Some children have a temperament that allows them to handle transitions with ease, but for others, changes in activity can result in tantrums and tears. If your child struggles with transitions, don’t worry. This is a normal part of childhood. As part of my role in early childhood education at the Wilder Foundation, I have worked with many parents to find ways to make transitions easier for children. These often include finding ways to let a child...
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Helping Children Cope with a Scary World
Child watching television​Our world can be a scary place. As parents, we worry about our children growing up when wars, shootings, bombings and other horrific acts of violence seem to happen one after another. Frightening images stream across our TVs, computers and phones constantly. We wonder how to help kids feel safe and how to talk to them about their fears and confusion while we try to manage our own. Age, personality, developmental level and previous life experiences influence how children respond to terrifying events. Following are some common signs that a child may be struggling to cope with a frightening incident: Preschool-age Children Becoming unusually quiet or agitated; increased fear of being alone or being separated from parents/caregivers; fear of darkness and strangers; increased difficulty with changes and transitions;...
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Five Resources for Early Childhood Development Research
Family at Child Development Center CelebrationWilder Foundation has supported the health and well-being of children for more than 100 years. From programs that provide quality child care and parent education, to research that examines how children learn, to community partnerships that encourage the healthy development of babies, Wilder is committed to helping children reach their full potential. A growing body of research helps inform how we can achieve that goal. We now know early childhood development begins before birth, and that kindergarten readiness is a strong indicator of a child’s success later in life. These findings can shape the ways families, communities, and organizations like Wilder support children at a young age. So how do we keep up with the latest in early childhood development? Wilder Research librarians have compiled the following...
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Helping Your Child Manage Feelings
​When kindergartners struggle in school, it’s not usually because they don’t know the alphabet, and it’s not because they can’t count. At the kindergarten level, school success depends greatly on the ability to express feelings and emotions, share, take turns, and use other social and emotional skills. Children aren’t born with the ability to regulate their emotions. They may not even know how to identify when they are happy or sad much less to recognize how their bodies, feelings and perceptions are affected by those emotions. Emotional self-regulation is the process of identifying feelings, managing the physical reactions, emotions and thoughts related to those feelings, and reacting appropriately. It is learned starting in our early years, like walking, toilet training and other developmental achievements. For...
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Take the Wilder Tools for School Success Campaign Challenge
​Most people remember the first day of school. For many of us, late summer brings to mind crayons with untouched tips, fresh pencils and new backpacks. Going back to school should be time of excitement and promise. The Wilder Foundation knows that not all kids get to experience that excitement because they do not have the tools that they need to succeed in school. As part of Wilder's mission focus to prepare and enable low-income children and their families to succeed in school, children who are served by Wilder receive school supplies and backpacks because of the Tools for School Success campaign.  Tools for School Success is driven by donations from employees, businesses and individuals, and it’s no small task. Since the first backpack drive...
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Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104 Phone: 651-280-2000
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