Maggie Tao PPS 6009 Bruce D. Perry: Social & Emotional Development in Early Childhood How do we make the world better for our children and grandchildren? ● Transgenerational change is possible in our human species because our brain stores information at a speed that allows us to effectively absorb information ● More specifically, the part of our brain that allows us to use information from experiences is the neocortex ○ Morals, values, beliefs are formed in the neocortex Sociocultural Evolution ● “The rate of change in the last several generations has been faster than our rate of problem solving to deal with that level of change” - Bruce D. Perry ○ One generation did not have cars on the road, while one generation had cars but didn’t have TV screens ● Inventions between generations can be good or bad ○ Inventions are a set of guidelines that help us understand what to teach our children in order to pass on traits that we desire future generations to have ○ Reading - 10,000 years ago no single human read, but presently, reading is a fundamental aspect of life ○ Values play a huge role in intentional teachings ■ If family values sports, they will provide time and resources for sports, which in turn allows the individual to really develop a strong skill set of motor skills to adapt to specific activities within that value ○ “Inertial” or unintentional inventions are things that are passed down without the active purpose of advancing it to the next generation ■ Example: spanking a child when they hit other peers to teach them not to hit Sociocultural Devolution ● Traits that are not directly passed onto the next generation goes away ○ Example: Grandma makes cookies, other people in the family try to replicate it but fail, since Grandma did not explicitly state exact ingredients to her cookie recipe, the phenomenal cookies are gone forever Neglecting Biological Gifts ● Power of relationships ○ Small, multi-family groups are diminished in the modern world through the concept of private space and decreased average household sizes ○ In hunter-gatherer societies, a 6 year old child’s ratio of scaffolding through learning from more mature, developed individuals to child is 4:1 ○ In today’s society, it is acceptable to have a 1:8 teacher and student ratio ○ We lack human interaction because we spend a majority of time behind a screen ■ Lack of relational interactions create a huge impact on the way our body and neural connectivities react to things such as empathy, stress responses ■ Senses such as touch and hearing connect us to each other that influence how we develop ● Brain malleability in early childhood ○ Use-dependent development - brain development is created through use by which when a system in the brain is activated, it is changed to create patterns of memory and learning ○ Highly verbal environment = higher vocabulary by 2 years old ○ Positive relational interactions with peers, strangers, family create repetition for feelings of reward and regulation where stress responses are lower (smiles from others) ○ Poverty of reward in lack of relational interactions creates harmful problem solving tendencies: drinking alcohol, drugs, unhealthy diet ■ Essential to understanding public health issues such as obesity, substance abuse and how some are more susceptible to health issues than others ○ Increased screen time causes imbalance between age and socioemotional skills ■ i.e. an 18 year old now has the cognitive skills of an 18 year old, but the socioemotional skills of a 6 year old and show more self-centered traits such as taking selfies and tweeting about what they had for lunch ■ Although screen time is not all bad, it has been a problem that we are unable to master through regulation of it It is equally or more important to develop curriculum around social and emotional development than STEM ● Disengaged youth that are able to represent our democracy (18-29 year olds) during elections is a representation of lack of social and emotional skills ● Deficits of new college graduates looking to join the workforce include interpersonal skills Becoming Humane ● Humans become humane not because they are innately human, but because they develop the ability to care, share, listen, value, empathize, be compassionate from the same capacities of being cared for and nurtured ● Lack of these capacities cause inhumane humans through the diminished lack of human interaction Early Childhood and Developmental Histories on Health ● Fundamental growth of our brain slows down at age 4-5 ● Higher adversity during childhood = at risk for expressing issues in physical and mental health and social issues ○ Dropping out of school, cardiovascular disease ○ Risk for heart attack is greater for individuals who have 3 or more childhood adverse experiences than an individual who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes in a day ○ Relational health is a protective factor to adversity ■ Adversity causes vulnerability, but positive relationships protect us ○ Ways of increasing relational health to buffer inevitable adversity effects ■ Having siblings share a room even though parents have the means to afford a home with separate rooms for each child ■ No TVs in children’s bedrooms and if TV time is regulated, watch TV together in the same space ■ Causes and develops better capability of creating, sharing, learning Capitalizing Biological Gifts ● Early childhood investments is imbalanced through the spending of money for high quality childcare and resources and the potential for opportunity ○ i.e. the brain’s capacity for change is optimal, but the resources given and the funding provided for programs to help with utilizing the malleability of the brain does not make sense ● Since our world is growing more diverse, we are doomed if we don’t value socioemotional skills because these are fundamental capacities of being able to share and learn from one another Maggie Tao PPS 6009 Reflection I found Bruce D. Perry’s lecture on social and emotional development in early childhood both intriguing and provoking in understanding the ways early human interactions parallel characteristics in adulthood and quality of life. Our human brain is unique in the sense that we are able to store and retrieve information in order to create aspects such as values and morals in our neocortex (Perry, 2014). Several key differences in the ways that children are raised in their homes and communities make way for the significance of being able to adapt and understand children as a whole, rather than the way they process information in the academic setting. I feel that this understanding is pivotal in my career as a school psychologist because much of how we deal with resilience through adversity depends on our ability to utilize our social and emotional skills. Dr. Perry brings light to several issues throughout his lecture. Among that is the rate in which our human race is inventing and the lack of intention of solving issues within these inventions. For instance, modern society places great value in privacy and having our own individual space which leads to decreased average household sizes and less human interaction as compared to hunter gatherer societies where both extended and immediate families are under the same roof. With that said, one can imagine the amount of stimulation and absorption of information a child can receive from multiple adults in a large multi-family household in contrast to a household that consists of only the child and his or her parents. Vygotsky’s social learning theory on child development and the ways children make meaning through social interactions is a great way to understand the effects of child to more experienced adult ratios. In hunter-gatherer societies, the average ratio of child to a more mature individual is 4:1. By contrast, today’s society accepts the average teacher to student ratio of 1:8. How are we able to scaffold learning if we are unable to attend and divide our attention between 8 individuals who have their own ways of learning and absorbing information? Furthermore, the development of curriculum has been centered towards STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) for generations. It is equally as important to teach socioemotional skills because we are finding that the youth is extremely disengaged in situations such as representing our democracy through voting during elections and the difficulty of finding jobs as a college graduate due to a lack of interpersonal skills (Perry, 2014). I feel that the lack of interpersonal skills is created through the significance that our education system places on aspects such as receiving good test scores rather than teaching values of empathy so to speak. As school psychologists, it’s important to assess children, but it is equally as important to understand and emphasize social interactions among peers and how to adequately solve problems at an early age. Our world is increasingly becoming more diverse and our profession gives us great capacity of hope in increasing socioemotional skills and positive relational interactions among one another as most of our lives are spent in the school environment - why not utilize these hours and minutes to place emphasis on values that make us human? References Festival, C. H. (2014, December 11). Bruce D. Perry: Social & Emotional Development in Early Childhood. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkJwFRAwDNE&feature=youtu.be.